Tue

28

Feb

2017

Love Lock

It's been a long time since I saw lovelocks at Waimea Canyon lookout last May.  I know "Love is sometimes blind" but I cannot understand people who attached lovelocks in front of breathtaking views.

 

Leaving lovelock in front of great nature is something like throwing away rubbish in a super clean place.  We normally cannot do this.  But the truth is there are always people who do this. So I'm sure those who did install lovelocks at the lookout were not normal.  They were blinded by love.

 

As you know, lovelock is a symbol of "unbreakable love" by throwing away its key.  But this time it was broken and removed soon by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.  

 

I'm afraid this "cat and mouse game" might continue but we all need to realize the principle of the sightseeing site. "Don't take and leave anything."   You can only take photos and leave footprints by your shoes.  Maybe for Kauai, visitors are also welcome to leave money, too.

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Fri

10

Feb

2017

Harmony of the Universe (2)

What a delicious chocolate!  I went to Seven-Eleven to buy water and I happened to realize they sell some Japanese products.  One of them was this Crisp and Moist Chocolate.  I didn't intend to buy any snack but I couldn't resist buying it after seeing this product.  Just like this explanation, chocolate was so mild, crisp and moist and I felt harmony of the universe in my mouth.  So good! 

 

As you know, persons who have opposite characters are hard to get along.  However, if they can understand very well each other, they can be best friends.  In like manner, two opposite elements in one product are not good combinations.  But if opposites can be mixed very well, there is harmony in the combination.  I felt harmony of the universe from the combination of crisp and moist.  

 

...Sorry if I am exaggerating, but this is very good.

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Thu

09

Feb

2017

What is Buddhism?

 

What is Buddhism?  Dharma Talk by Rev. William Masuda during KBC Bodhi Day service last month was so interesting.  Although I forgot many parts of the talk but this simple question of "what is Buddhism in short or by using a few words" still lingers on me.  And I still remember most answers from the floor. 

 

I thought this question was excellent because

 

1. Simple and short, 2. Many answers, 3. No wrong answers

 

In addition, no matter how you may know Buddhism, knowledge doesn't help much to answer this question.  Rather knowledge can be an obstacle to answer since you have to choose one out of many possible answers.  Anyway, I enjoyed listening to the answers from members of the different temples..  They were "Compassion", "Impermanence and Permanence", "Non-attachment" and "Living in the present moment."  Yes, they were all correct and I was thinking my answer as "middle path" or later "Teaching of Buddha to become a Buddha."  The more I think, the more better answers I get.

 

 

Interestingly, Rev. Masuda introduced traditional passage of Buddhism as one of the answers for "What is Buddhism."  Buddhism is, "1. Refrain from Various Evils, 2. Cultivate the Various Good, 3. Purify the mind, 4. That's the teaching of Buddhas (Dharmapada)."

 

 

There is a famous episode about this phrase.  A Chinese famous poet, Bai Juyi(772-846), asked his Zen Master "What is Buddhism in essence"  Then his master replied by quoting this passage above "Refrain from Various Evils..."  However, Bai Juyi was disappointed to hear it and complained "Is that so simple?  3yrs old child could know this answer."   Then his master told Bai Juyi "3 years old child may know it yet nobody can do it even though they become 80 years old."

 

 

Our Master Honen (1133-1212), on the other hand, also thought about the same question of "What is Buddhism."  Then he pointed out the word "San-gaku (lit. three studies)"as the very essence of Buddhism,  which can be translated into "Three-fold Discipline" in English.  Master Honen said,

 

 

"Buddhist doctrine has many facets; however, its basis ultimately lies the Three-fold Discipline; that is, the precepts, meditation, and wisdom.  The three-fold Discipline are embodied in Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, in the tenets of exoteric and esoteric Buddhist doctrines." ( Teachings of Honen, page 5)

 

 

I thought "Precepts, Meditation, and Wisdom" could be the best answer for What is Buddhism because these three words indicates both our goal and the way to reach goal.  I haven't realized importance of wisdom until I recalled this phrase.  Yes, wisdom is the most important teaching, goal, and light.   Then I got to realize most of the answers for "what is Buddhism" are just different descriptions or expressions of "wisdom."

 

Needless to say, “Wisdom" is the very core concept in Buddhism and therefore we can call "non-attachment, middle path, living in the present moment, eight-fold path" as a part of wisdom.  Then how can we get wisdom? 

 

 

Excellently, three words "Precepts, meditation, and Wisdom" indicate a step-by step teaching.  First, we need to follow various rules and disciplines called "basic."  We can say any lesson such as any sports, any languages, any arts  start with the simple basics which have many "Do not things."  By following the basics or precepts, we can always improve ourselves to grow.  Then as a next step, we need meditation which is like concentration.  Where there are both basic and meditation, there is always improvement.  

 

 

However, master Honen also realized there were countless people including himself having hard times to follow simple precepts and cannot observe meditation.   According to the Buddhist tradition," One will not enter the state of samadhi(tranquility full of insight) unless one becomes pure of body and mind through the observation of the precepts." 

 

If wisdom is achieved only by precepts and meditation, what will happen to people who cannot do these.  Is there any way we can be saved?  Is there any Buddhist teachings other than "Three fold discipline"?  Master Honen made questions that eventually led him to renounce traditional Buddhism and established Jodoshu in 1175. 

 

Once again, I thought the question “what is Buddhism?” was such a wonderful “right” question.  If we can make “right question”, it’s always possible to find an answer.  On the other hand, if we make a wrong question, the answer might be wrong, too.  In this complicated world, it’s kind of hard to find a right way and right answer.  However, just like Honen Shonin found a right question, if you can make a right question, you will find a right way out of the problems. 

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Mon

06

Feb

2017

Saving is Investing

 

Last month, price of forever stamp was raised to 49 cents from 47 cents.  I wonder did you buy stamps before this raise in price?  I did buy 500 stamps for the temple but now I regret I didn't buy more. 

 

As you know, the value of forever stamp will never change even though its price may go up when you buy it in the future. 

This means we can definitely save money when forever stamp is cheaper.  Of course, amount of saving money is depend on how many stamps you use in the future.  So you might think this raise of 2 cents is very small and it won't affect much when you buy only a small amount.   However, the more you need to use forever stamp, just "2 cents" raise can become bigger and bigger. 

For example,

 

Number of Forever stamp

47 cents/Stamp

(Before raise)

Price

49 cents/Stamp

(After raise)

Price

Difference

10

$4.7

$4.9

20 cents

100

$47

$49

$2

1000

$470

$490

$20

10000

$4700

$4900

$200

100000

$47000

$49000

$2000

 

 

 

Of course, number of over 10000 stamps seem to be so huge and may not be realistic to buy these numbers of stamp at one time.   But if you are using "forever stamp" regularly, these numbers will come eventually.  So if you need to use about 200 stamps every month, consumption of stamps will be2400 stamps annually. 

 

 

 

Year

Usage of forever stamp

(200 /a month)

1 year

2400

2 years

4800

3 years

7200

4 years

9600

5 years

12000

 

 

 

So if I was able to buy 12000 stamps before this raise, I could have save at least $240 for the stamp usage in 5 years.  That's actually lots of saving as compared to the bank's interest.  Currently interest rate for bank CD is almost nothing.   Even though you deposit money for longer period like 5 years, it won't make much money.  

 

We tend to think saving and earning are two different things and we like more earning than saving.  However if we can be mindful of the meaning of saving, saving and earning can be a same thing as a whole. 

So  buying cheaper forever stamps should be much better investment if you use stamps regularly.  The rate of this raise of 2 cents for 47 cents is actually 4.2%!!!   This means if you were able to buy cheaper forever stamp, you could save 4.2% of the price...which should be same as earning 4.2% interest.

 

Yes, saving is investing.  I wrote this for the next time.

0 Comments

Sat

04

Feb

2017

History repeats itself?

War, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, peace, war, war, peace, war, peace.....This is our history of human being if I can put it bluntly.  Of course, reality is never so simple but we human being repeated war and peace countless times in the past and they are still happening in this moment..  

 

Nobody like war and everybody love peace.  However peace can be broken so easily by war. Then war make us seek for peace.  Just like swinging pendulum, war and peace are happening and going back and forth repeatedly.

 

Another interesting expression for our human history can be "repetition of unity and division."  We all want to be united and love sense of unity.  Then once it is unified, however, we lose our sense of special and we seek for the smaller groups.  Then if we get more of smaller groups, we lose sense of strength and feel more inconvenient because of the smaller group.  As a result, we seek for the bigger group which could do a bigger job.  Both unity of smaller groups and division of a bigger group are happening not only in our history but also happening in our everyday life.  We can see this in the context of the opposite relationship between  "Stimulation and stability" or "special and general."

Anyway, war and peace, unity and division have been a very essence and backbone of the history which repeated itself.  But now with modern technology and power of the extremely strong weapons,  history may not repeat itself in the future because such a powerful weapons could extinct us so easily.  That's why to choose a right leader will be more and more important in the future.  

0 Comments

Sat

04

Feb

2017

Meaning of Great

Mr. T says "Make America Great Again."  But I think America is already Great.  America gave me rights to live and work legally, freedom of speech, and religious liberty.  I'm very thankful to America for my sources of happiness and therefore I believe America is great.


On the other hand, what made Mr. T think that America is not great now.  Why?  I thought about the reason and finally found it out.  The reason was quite simple. 

 

My definition of "great" and his definition of "great" are totally different.  For Mr. T, "great" is understood as getting "more money" "more jobs" and "more factories in the US."   "Great" is used as a simple meaning of "rich."  I agree many people need to be employed and be richer.  In this sense, Mr. T is not wrong.

However....if much more factories come to America and hire more people to work, what will happen?   Is this the way for the country to be richer?  I am not sure the answer.

 

But at least I know one thing.  Prices of products are all going up because companies need to use more money to use workers.  Then if they spend more money, eventually they need to lay off people. 

 

Building walls at border is same thing.  If America is charging more tax for the foreign products, it's not foreign companies to pay tax but American companies need to pay more tax. And eventually it comes us customers who pay more to the products.

"Make America Great Again" sounds great and inspiring.  But to be rich is actually never easy.   And we need to have a different goal or direction if existing way doesn't work good.

 

Our goal is better to make our mother Earth great, not one country to be great. Through the many wars in the human history, we all know Fascio (nationalism) is out of fashion and globalism is the one we should grow. 

 

Needless to say, no countries can exist without our mother Earth.  Also we cannot live without our planet.  However, vice versa is not true.   Without country, Earth can live.  Without America, people can exist and we can live without Japan.

 

Once again, I think America is already "great" according to my definition and our next step is not to make America great but to make our Earth great!

 

0 Comments

Thu

02

Feb

2017

2017 Quiz

Aloha!  Long time no see. 

For a long time, I forgot about this blog but I'm thinking to restart it because I have now desire to write more.  My condition has been like storing water.  Because I have just kept collecting water, now I need a way to release the water here. 

I am hoping I can provide more of interesting, useful and sometimes funny stories to you.  And above all, my wish is "Let all living beings be always happy and kind. "

 

Anyway I have a quiz.  It's very simple but very difficult.  The question is "How many cats can you see?"  Please guess the answer.

 

A. 0

B. 1

C. 2

D. many

E. So what?

 

The answer is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. 2 cats!

 

Thank you for visiting our website and have a great day!

0 Comments

Sat

28

Jan

2017

2017 Bon Dance Schedule

Kauai Buddhist Council

2017 Bon Dance Schedule

 

June 2-3           WKHM-Hanapepe 

June 9-10         Lihue Hongwanji 

June 16-17       Waimea Shingon 

June 23-24       Kapaa Jodo Mission 

June 30-July 1  No Bon Dance

July 7-8             WKHM-Waimea 

July 14-15         Kapaa Hongwanji 

July 21-22         Waimea Higashi Hongwanji 

July 28-29         Kauai Soto Zenshuji 

Aug 4-5              Koloa Jodo Mission

 

Aloha and Happy New Year!

2017 Kauai Bon Dance Schedule was approved at Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting last week.  There will be 18 songs this year including a new song called "Nippon Zenkoku Ohayashi Ondo."  Bon Dance Practice schedule was not set yet, but I let you know as soon as I get it.  Anyway, please mark Bon Dance schedule on your calendar and hope to see you soon.

 

0 Comments

Sun

01

Jan

2017

2017 Schedule

 

2017 Schedule / Koloa Jodo Mission & Kapaa Jodo Mission

 

 

 

January

 

Sunday, January 1                   10:30 a.m.                              

New Year's Day Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission

 

 

Monday, January 2                 10:30 a.m.  

New Year's Day Service at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Saturday, January 7                5:30 p.m.                                

Nippon Welcome Dinner at KCC  (Tickets $20/person + $20/cadet)

 

 

Sunday, January 8                   10:30 a.m.    

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, January 15                 10:00a.m.                               

Gyoki Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission

  (Memorial Service for St. Honen)

 

 

Sunday, January 22                 10:30 a.m.  

Gyoki Service at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 1:00 p.m.            Bon Dance Meeting at WKH Hanapepe

 

Monday, January 23                6:00 p.m.                                

KBC Meeting at Zenshuji

 

 

Saturday, January 28               6:00 p.m.                               

New Year's Party at Kapaa Jodo

 

*Members of Koloa Jodo Mission has been invited.  Please let me know if you can participate.

 

 

Sunday, January 29                 10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Calss at Koloa Jodo

 

 

 

February

 

Sunday, February 5                 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Saturday, February 11             5:30 p.m. 

General Membership Meeting

6:00 p.m.                                 New Year's Party at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Sunday, February 19               10:00 a.m.                              

Nirvana Day Service at Kapaa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, February 26               10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

 

March

 

Sunday, March 5                     10:30 a.m. 

Higan Service at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, March 12                   10:00 a.m. 

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo

March19             No Service

 

 

Sunday, March 26                   10:30 a.m.

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

 

April

 

Sunday, April 2                         9:30 a.m.                                

KBC Buddha Day Service at West Kauai Hongwanji Hanapepe Temple

 

 

Sunday, April 9                        10:00 a.m.                              

Buddha Day Service at Kapaa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, April 16                      10:30 a.m. 

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, April 23                      10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

 

May

 

Boy's Day Mochi Sale at Kapaa Jodo

will be announced later.

 

 

Sunday, May 14                      10:30 a.m. 

Mother's Day Service at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, May 28                      10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

June

 

Sunday, June 4                        10:30 a.m. 

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo

 

Friday, June 23-24                                                                  

Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission

 

Sunday, June 18                      10:00 a.m.                              

Bon Service / Osegaki at Kapaa

 

Sunday, June 25                      8:00 a.m.                               

Clean-Up at Kapaa Jodo

 

 

July

 

Sunday, July 1                          7:30 p.m.                                

Kapaa Toro Nagashi at Wailua River

 

 

Sunday, July 30                        10:30 a.m.   

Bon Service/Osegaki at Koloa Jodo

 

 

August

 

Fr. & Sat. August  4 & 5    Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Sunday, August 6                      7:30 p.m. 

Toro Nagashi (Tentative) at Kukuiula

 

 

Sunday, August 20                   10:00 a.m. 

Jizo Bon Service at Kapaa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, August 27                   10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

September

 

Sunday, September 3              10:30 a.m. 

Higan Service at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Sunday, September 10            10:00 a.m. 

Higan Service at Kapaa Jodo Mission

 

 

Sunday, September 24            10:30 a.m.

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo Mission

 

 

Monday, September 25          6:00 p.m. 

KBC Meeting at Zenshuji

 

 

October

 

Sunday, October 1                  10:30 a.m.  

Sunday Service at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, October 29                10:30 a.m.  

Calligraphy Class at Koloa

 

 

November

 

Sunday, November 5               10:30 a.m. 

Ojuya Service at Koloa

 

 

Sunday, November  12            10:00 a.m. 

Ojuya Service at Kapaa

 

 

Sunday, November 19             10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

December

 

Sunday, December 3               9:30 a.m.

KBC Bodhi Day Service(Tentative)

 

 

Sunday, December 10             10:30 a.m. 

Calligraphy Class at Koloa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, December 17

Mochi Sale at Kapaa Jodo

 

 

Sunday, December 31             5:30 p.m.

New Year's Eve Service at Koloa Jodo

11:30 p.m.     New Year's Eve Service at Kapaa Jodo

 

0 Comments

Thu

03

Nov

2016

Awake After Sleeping

 

Last month I participated in the 24 hours Ceaseless Nenbutsu relay which I broadcasted through my youtube channel.  My assignment was only one hour but soon after I started chanting, I felt like sleeping. 

 

 

 

Since then my practice of Nenbutsu changed to a battle with strong drowsiness.  At first, I had a pressure that some friends in the world are watching me via internet.  So I tried to stay up to chant "Namu Amida Bu" loudly.  Gradually, however, I felt my hitting Mokugyo(wooden drum) became slower.  Then finally I couldn't resist my sleepiness during chanting Nenbutsu.  I'm not so sure how long I was sleeping but at least I realized I fell asleep!

 

 

 

Immediately I thought "Oh my goodness, I slept!!!"  But it was too late.  I became so ashamed of myself and I woke up.  Interestingly, however, after falling asleep during Nenbutsu, I felt so refreshed and completely woke up.   "What a glorious moment!"  This was the moment I first realized the significance of "sleep" in order to wake up.   At the same time, I regained my energy to continue to do Nenbutsu loudly.  This was the most pleasant Nenbutsu I've ever experienced.  One hour went so quickly and I continued more Nenbutsu.

 

 

 

Once again, nobody can wake up without having some sleep.  Because we sleep, we can wake up.  Buddhism is a religion of "awakening."  I realized sleeping or some negative factors of life were also important.   

0 Comments

Thu

27

Oct

2016

ワイメア渓谷へ~キャニオン・ドライブ展望ガイド

アロハ!カウアイ島コロア浄土院住職のKosenです。ワイメアにはツアーガイドとしてよく通りますが、ボランティアでもここにあるケア・ホームを慰問しています。コロアからは車で運転すること30分。かれこれ16年もワイメアへ通っていますが、ここに来ると不思議と遠足気分になります♪

 

慰問後の楽しみは、なんといってもビーチや渓谷でのホロホロ(お散歩)、そして写真!食後は、無料のカウアイ・コーヒー!!!本当は試飲なんですけど、専用カップをもっていきますので、いつも有難く本気飲みさせて頂いております。

 

さて、昨日はお天気もよく、空気も澄み渡っていましたので、慰問後はワイメア渓谷へと向かうキャニオン・ドライブへ行ってきました。最近はまっています360度ストリートビュー写道を撮ってグーグルに投稿するのが目的でしたが、今回は以前から気になっていたキャニオン・ドライブ沿いの景観を撮影・紹介してみよう!と思い立ちました。

 

記録するにあたって、まずは、道路沿い、無数にある撮影箇所を絞り車が安全に、そしてらくらく駐車できるスペース周辺にしました。次に、それぞれの景観、または展望台に名前がありませんので、それぞれの展望スペースをふもとからかぞえてLookout 1, Lookout 2, Lookout 3、、、、と番号をつけました。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : -

Lookout 1: ワイメア・キャニオン・ドライブを登りはじめて最初の展望スペース。大きなヘアピンカーブを登り切った場所にある。ワイメアの街をはじめ、ケカハ、ニイハウ島を望む展望台。ここからの夕陽も◎。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : ☆☆

Lookout 2: 直線の急こう配を登って、最初に目にする駐車(車2台ほどとめることができる)スペース。ワイメア川の景観がメイン。流域の緑豊かな景色はいいが、渓谷はあまり見られない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) : ☆

Lookout 3: 舗装されていないやや広めのスペース。渓谷側の景色はハオレ・コアの枯れ木が邪魔でX。海側は見晴らしがよい。しかし、街の景色が見えないのでx。

 

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆

Lookout4: 道沿いからすぐに渓谷を見下すことのできる好位置にある。ニイハウ、レフア島を見ることができるが、ここでも街の景色はほとんど見えない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 5: キャニオン・ドライブで最高のオーシャンビュー。解放感も味わえ、しかも渓谷の景色もいい。海も渓谷もどちらも1回だけでみるならここがおすすめ!

 

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆

Lookout 6: ガードレール越にお手軽に見られる景色だが、ハオレコアが若干多い。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆☆

Lookout 7: ハオレコアが少なく渓谷の景観が際立つ場所。S字に蛇行するワイメア川など魅力ある写真が撮られる。しかし、海側の景観がよくない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆☆

Lookout 8: 前の展望とほぼ同じだが、こちらのほうが若干歩くことになる(より赤土が靴につきやすい)。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :ー

Lookout 9: 海側に車をとめるので、渓谷は見られない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 10: キャニオンドライブでもっとも駐車スペースが広く、最も多くの人が立ち寄る展柵のない展望スペース。最近、海側の草が刈られたので、オーシャンビューも悪くない。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 11: 赤土を流れる滝。土、空、水の際立った色など写真の撮影価値の高い場所。ただし、赤土で靴も車もよごれる。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

Lookout 12: 穴場的な景観。道路の両脇に舗装のされていない車2台が駐車できる程度のスペースあり、ここに車をとめる。草木のはえない赤土越えに海がみえる。また、キャニオン・ドライブの尾根道を一望することができる。

海側景色(Ocean View):☆☆☆

山側景色(Mountain View) :☆☆☆☆

謂うまでもなく、キャニオンドライブを代表する急こう配のS字カーブの坂。カウアイ島のベテラン・ガイド、ボビー長尾さんによれば、この道路の別名は「ジェットコースターロード」!ここをすぎるとすぐに、コケエ・ロードと合流します。つづく。

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Tue

27

Sep

2016

2017 Bon Dance Schedule (Tentative) on Kauai

This evening I enjoyed holoholo at Waimea Shore and then participated in the Kauai Buddhist Council Meeting at Waimea Higashi Hongwanji.  As I realize I am getting older, I am aware of my life time is getting to be shorter. 

 

Then how can I make the most use of my time from now on?  Is it possible to save time?  

 

One of my answers is "kill two birds with one stone."  Just like I did both photography and meeting in Waimea this evening, I thought it would be important to do more jobs by spending less time and energy.   

 

So sharing 2017 Bon Dance schedule here can be another good example for "Killing two birds with one stone."   With only one time post, many people can possibly benefit from the schedule below.

 

2017 Kauai Buddhist Council

Bon Dance Schedule (Tentative)


June 2 & 3            WKH Hanapepe
June 9 & 10          Lihue Hongwanji
June 16 & 17        Waimea Shingon
June 23 & 24        Kapaa Jodo...
June 30 & July 1   No Bon Dance
July 7 & 8            WKH Waimea Temple
July 14 & 15         Kapaa Hongwwanji
July 21 & 22         Waimea Higashi
July 28 & 29         Kauai Soto Zen

August 4 & 5      Koloa Jodo

 

*This is a tentative schedule but there should be no change... as long as your temple doesn't request any change.  This means......2017 Koloa Jodo Mission Bon Dance is definitely set as August 4 & 5, 2017.   To our Members and friends of Koloa Jodo Mission, please mark these two dates on your 2017 calendar.  I thank you very much for your continued support!

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Mon

26

Sep

2016

Make(mah-ke)

Wild chickens here on Kauai are getting stronger and stronger. Yesterday, I saw a big fat cat ran away from chickens.   The word "chicken" is supposed to mean "coward."  But they are not "chicken" anymore.  For me, a cat seemed to be "chicken" or "a loser. "

 

In Japanese, a loser is called "Make(mah keh)-inu" which literally means "defeated dog" or "beaten dog."  This is very similar to the English word "underdog" but "Make(mah keh)-inu" usually indicate the loser who makes excuse for any defeat or failure or mistakes.  

 

 I think the reason why a "dog " is chosen to mean "a loser" is maybe because dogs bark even when they feel scared.  It is not comfortable to hear the baking from the dog.  In like manner, we don't like hearing excuses or complaints from losers.  So the word "Make-inu" means more than a loser.  It never intend to blame you just because you couldn't win.   Rather "Make-inu" intends to blame you because you don't admit your mistakes or defeat.

 

Interestingly enough, there is a word "Make (mah-ke)" in Hawaiian language, too. "Make(mah-ke)" means "dead" or "to die" while Japanese "Make(mah-ke) means "defeated" which could also mean to die.  I'm not sure if this is just happening or not.  But since both Japanese and Hawaiian languages have so many similar words and their meanings,  I am guessing some words are originally Japanese which were used by Japanese immigrants more than 100 years ago.   Because one century is very long enough for human forget, people mixed up to understand some Japanese words as Hawaiian words.

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Mon

19

Sep

2016

International Day of Peace

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Fri

16

Sep

2016

アレココ(メネフネ養魚池)

 

アレココ(Alekoko Fishpond)は、カウアイ島伝説の小人族メネフネが、一夜にして作ったといわれる養魚池で、通称メネフネ・フィッシュ・ポンドとして知られています。

ハワイ語のアレココには「血が湧き出る」という意味があり、一説には、何千ものメネフネが山から溶岩石を手渡しで運び、壁を築きあげた後、傷だらけの手を池で洗ったため、池が血で赤く染まったという由来があります。現在、フレマル・ロードの展望台から、この壁は見えませんが、幅1メートル、高さ1.5メートル、長さにして274メートルあり、池の大きさは推定39エーカー、と言われています。

 

建設年代は諸説あり、古くは1000年前に建設されたといわれ、新しくは580年前に作られたという説があります。アレココは、1973年アメリカ合衆国国家歴史登録財として登録されましたが、池の土地が今も私有地であるため詳しい調査は行われていません。

 

メネフネの由来ですが、最も有力な説は、タヒチ語の「マナフネ」という言葉。意味は「一般人」または「下級クラスの人」という意味で、13世紀にタヒチから支配者層がカウアイ島に移住したときに、当時先住民であったマルケサスの人を差別して「マナフネ」と呼んだという説。「社会的に小さい」という意味が、やがて「体型的に小さい=小人」という意味に変わっていったと考えられています。カウアイ島の先住民が、いつ頃、マルケサス諸島から海を渡ってやってきたかは正確には分かりません。3世紀から8世紀の間と推定されています。

 

トリビア

 

・メネフネ養魚池とその周辺の土地(102エーカー)所有者は、オアフ島に在住するOkadaさんという日系人。2005年に約1200万ドル(約12億円)で、売りに出されたことがニュースになりました。

 

・養魚池は、もともと王の依頼で作られた、王族のための池であったと考えられていますが、カウアイ島最後のカウムアリイ王が亡くなった1824年以後、養魚池としては使われることはありませんでした。

 

・水面に群生するマングローブの森林が、毎年増大し、今後約30年間の間に池を埋め尽くす可能性が指摘されています。

 

・王族の為に養っていた魚は、ハワイ語でAma'amaと呼ばれるボラ(英名Striped Mullet)、Awaと呼ばれるサバヒー (英名Milk Fish)、近年では、サモアン蟹が生息していると言われています。

 

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Wed

31

Aug

2016

Kota Shrine (居多神社)

This is a very impressive calligraphy which says "Namu(Namo) Amida Butsu" on the drawing of red sun. 

 

It is well-known as "Hinomaru no Omyogo(日の丸の御名号)" meaning "The Holy Name in the flag of rising sun" which was believed to be written by Shinran Shonin( 1173-1263) when he was exiled to Kota-ga-hama, Echigo (Niigata) as a result of Nenbutsu-ban in 1207. 

According to the local legend, right after Shinran Shonin visited the Shrine to offer prayer to Ōkuninushi(Main enshrined God of this Shinto Shrine), setting sun incredibly shined ocean and 6 characters of Hony Name (Na, Mu(o), A, Mi, Da, Butsu) came out on the surface of ocean.  This impressive sight made Shinran to take a calligraphy-brush and wrote Holy Name on the red sun.

Then a legend continues that Shinran made a short poem as follows,

"Oh, thou, the God of Kota Shrine, please protect Dharma for good and all...as long as Amida and human exist."


Surprising, on the next morning, all the reeds on the ground of Kota-shrine lost all leaves of one-side, which became known as "Kata-ha no Ashi" meaning "One-sided leaves' Reed(Ashi)."  This is now designated as one of the 7 mysteries of Joetsu.

"Kataha no Ashi" Reeds have leaves coming out of the stalks one side, not both sides
"Kataha no Ashi" Reeds have leaves coming out of the stalks one side, not both sides
Entrance of Kota Jinjya
Entrance of Kota Jinjya

Kota-Shrine or Kota Jinjya is located in my hometown, 6 Chome-1-11 Gochi, Jōetsu-shi, Niigata-ken 942-0081, Japan.   10 minutes drive or 25 minutes walk from Naoetsu station.  For the collection of shrine seal, it is recommended to call the shrine (025-543-4354) in advance.  

 

There were some Omamori(amulets) and books for Sale but nobody was watching/attending.  It just says "To those purchasing goods, please put money in the offering box."  What a trust! But this is very common to many shrines and temples. 

 

The Kota shrine is known as a god of good marriage and blessed with having children.  This Shrine is also very famous for the Calligraphy of the Holy Name written by Shinran Shonin. 

Therefore it is rare but a shrine has a statue of Shonin Shonin!  Also a historical site where Shinran Shonin landed and lived,  is very close to this shrine. 

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Tue

30

Aug

2016

Fruit Protection Bag

 

What a beautiful Mango! I thought Mango season was already ended on Kauai this year but this was a first crop at Rebecca and Mo's garden.  I felt honored and grateful to receive this Mango as a gift.  Also I was very happy to know their experiment to use "Kajitsu-burkuro" for Mango was successful.

 

Kajitsu-bukuro(果実袋) is a Japanese word, which literally means a "fruit bag."  It is an individual paper & plastic bag to protect fruit or vegetable from bugs, pests, and sunshine.   Since most farmers in Japan use this bag, fruits sold in Japan are very beautiful!  In addition, they are very delicious. 

 

I knew and saw fruit bags in Japan but I didn't realize the importance of the bags until uncle Mo told me he was looking for this.  So when I went to Japan in March, I bought and brought some bags to Kauai.

This is the picture Rebecca sent me some time ago.  This bag has a plastic window so that you can see if it's ready to pick. 

Again, beautiful and tasty Mango! I guess I should get some more bags when I have another chance to go to Japan!

 

By the way, there are so many types of Mangos are now listed in the Wikipedia;

 

Common
name(s)
Image Origin/
region
Notes
Alampur Baneshan Mango AlampurBaneshan Asit fs.jpg India, United States
Alice Mango Alice Asit fs.jpg United States  
Almaas   Pakistan  
Alphonso Alphonso mango.jpg India, Pakistan, Ecuador, Egypt, Sudan, United States, Nepal "King of Mangoes", very sweet with fibreless pulp, rich in vitamin A and C, founded mainly in Devgad & Ratnagiri Districts of Maharashtra, India. This cultivar is available in Feb till end of May.    
Amrapali   India  
Anderson Mango Anderson Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Angie Angie mango.jpg United States  
Anwar Ratol   India, UP, Multan, Punjab (Pakistan) Small in size and flesh without fibre . Peak season is mid July to August.
Ataulfo Ataulfo mango.jpg Ecuador, Mexico  
Bailey's Marvel Mango BaileysMarvel Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Banganapalli Banganapalli 12x9.jpg India The largest volume mango cultivar in the world, this medium-large fruit ripens to a golden-yellow exterior and a straw-yellow to golden-yellow interior. Very juicy, slightly tangy with little or no fibre and a creamy texture. It originates from the erstwhile princely state of Banganapalle, in present-day Andhra Pradesh, India.    
Bennet Alphonso Mango BennetAlphonso Asit fs.jpg United States  
Beverly Beverly mango.JPG United States  
Black and Rose]]   India Kerala Black and Rose [4]
Bombay Mango Bombay Asit ftg.jpg India, Nepal, United States  
Brahm Kai Meu Mango BrahmKaiMeu Asit fs.jpg United States  
Brooks Mango Brooks Asit fs8.jpg Australia, United States  
Carabao (Philippine Mango) Mango Carabao Asit ftg.jpg Philippines The Ataulfo (mango) and Manilita mango cultivars originated from the Philippine Mango variety. It can be traced back in the Manila-Mexico galleon trade in the years 1600-1800's.[5]    
Carrie Mango Carrie Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Chaunsa Chaunsa.JPG India, Sindh, Pakistan      
Chok anan   Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Thailand  
Cogshall Mango02 CS HD CS Asit.jpg United States  
Cushman Mango Cushman Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Dasheri   India, Nepal, Pakistan, It originated in Village Dasehri, Block Kakori, Lucknow (UP) India. The Mother Tree of Dasehri Mango is still alive and bearing fruits. It is estimated to be 200–300 years old. There are various stories about its origin but the owners say it is a "chance" seedling.    
Dot Mango Dot Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Dudhiya Malda   India, Nepal Grown in Digha, Patna, Bihar. Known for awesome taste and flavour with thin skin[6][7][8][9]    
Duncan Mango Duncan Asit fs8.jpg United States      
Earlygold Earlygold mango.JPG United States  
Edward Mango Edward Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Eldon Mango Eldon Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Emerald   United States  
Fazli (mango)   Bangladesh, India
Fajri Kalan   Pakistan
Fairchild   United States  
Fascell Mango Fascell2 Asit fs.jpg United States  
Florigon Mango Florigon Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Ford Mango Ford Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Gary Gary mango.JPG United States  
Gir Kesar   Gujarat (India)  
Glenn Mango Glenn Asit fs8.jpg Italy, United States  
Gold Nugget Mango ATAULFO GOLD NUGGET Asit.jpg United States  
Golden Lippens   United States  
Graham Mango Graham Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Haden Haden mango.jpg Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, United States  
Hatcher   United States  
Heidi   South Africa  
Himayat / Imam Pasand Mango ImamPasand Asit ftg.jpg India  
Himsagar Mango Himsagar Asit ftg.jpg Bangladesh, India, Nepal  
Ice Cream   United States  
Irwin Mango Irwin Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Costa Rica, United States, Taiwan, Japan (Okinawa) In Japan this variety is marketed as Apple Mango, and in the case of imports from Japan one needs to take care not to confuse it with the Apple Mango grown in the Philippines.
Ivory Mango IVORY Asit fs.JPG China Also known as the Jingu Ivory mango, or Ivory mango, this long, thin mango is named for its resemblance to a young elephant's tusk. It has thin skin, smooth skin. The flesh contains very few fibres, and constitutes approximately 82 percent of the fruit. It was first introduced into Yunnan, China from Thailand in 1914. The actual tree that was the first to be imported still grows, and during one year produced almost 500 kg of fruit.[10]
Jakarta Mango Jakarta Asit ftg.jpg United States  
Jean Ellen Jean Ellen mango.JPG United States  
Julie   Ecuador, United States A colourful, potato shaped mango with a sweet-tart flavour and a tall growth habit. Very popular in the Caribbean Sea, including Jamaica the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, and Barbados.
Kalepad   Andhra Pradesh, India  
Keitt Mango ATAULFO KEITT Asit.jpg Australia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, South Africa, United States  
Kensington Pride Mango Kensington Asit ftg.jpg Australia, Italy, United States  
Kent Mango Kent Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, United States  
Lakshmanbhog   India  
Lancetilla Mango Lancetilla Asit fs8.jpg Honduras, United States  
Langra Vikramshila Agrovet 2 Langra Mango farm, Mathurapur, Bhagalpur Bihar.JPG India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  
Lippens Mango Lippens Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Madame Francis   Haiti Large kidney shaped mango that ripens to a golden yellow colour with piquant flesh Commonly exported to the United States in spring; often a feature of NYC fruit stands.
Mallika Mango Mallika Asit fs.jpg India, Nepal, United States  
Manilita   United States  
Momi K[11]   Hawaii, United States Teardrop shaped with a narrow point. Ripens to a reddish orange blush. Flesh has creamy consistency.
Muhammad Wala   Pakistan
Mulgoba Mango Mulgoba Asit fs8.jpg India, United States
Neelam   India, Pakistan
Osteen Mango Osteen Asit ftg.jpg Italy, Spain, United States  
Palmer Mango Palmer Asit fs8.jpg Australia, Brazil, United States  
Parvin Parvin mango.JPG United States  
Raspuri Raspuri Mangoes.jpg Karnataka, India An extremely popular variety in South India, a fully ripe Raspuri mango harvested at the right time and ripened naturally can beat them all, including the Alphonso, in taste as well as amount of juice per mango. Many people especially Kannadigas do not even ask for any another variety except Raspuri in Bengaluru.
Rosigold Rosigold mango.JPG United States  
Ruby Mango Ruby Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Saigon Mango Saigon Asit ftg.jpg United States  
Sindhri Sindhri Mango.JPG Sindh Pakistan Sindhi Mango cultivated in Sindhri town Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan
Saharni   Pakistan  
Sammar Bahisht   Pakistan, India  
Sensation Mango Sensation Asit fs.jpg South Africa, United States  
Shan-e-Khuda Shan-e-khuda.jpeg Pakistan  
Sindhri Sindhri Mango.JPG Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan Sindhi Mango cultivated in Sindhri town Mirpur Khas district, Sindh province of Pakistan
Sophie Fry Mango SophieFry Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Southern Blush   United States  
Spirit of '76   United States  
Springfels Mango Springfels Asit fs8.jpg United States  
Sunset Sunset mango fruit.jpg United States  
Tommy Atkins Mango TommyAtkins05 Asit.jpg Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, United States, Venezuela One of the most commonly sold mangoes in the world. has extremely long shelf life. Hard and oblong exterior.
Torbert   United States  
Totapuri Mango Sandersha Asit fs8.jpg India  
Valencia Pride Mango VALENCIA PRIDE ATAULFO VALENCIA PRIDE Asit.jpg South Africa, United States  
Van Dyke Mango VanDyke Asit fs8.jpg Italy, United States  
Young   United States  
Zill Mango Zill Asit fs8.jpg South Africa, United States

 

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Mon

29

Aug

2016

Challenge

What a peremptory building!  This was my first impression on the Local Judiciary Court Building which I visited recently. Then I noticed a beauty of the symmetry of the building which must be an expression of "Fair" or "Well-balanced" of the law.   Although design of the court buildings are all different, the impression of "well-balanced" of the building should be same to the Court buildings in Japan.

 

Anyway, I went there in order to obtain an abstract of traffic record for my part-time employer I'd probably work from next month. I'm very excited about my new addition of the job to guide more Japanese tourists.

 

Needless to say, economy of the island depends on the tourism pretty much. The more tourists we have here on the island, the better economy we get....although the traffic will be surely worse.

 

After some experiences of having Japanese guests as a tour guide, I regard a role of tour guide so important.  A good guide could have them spend money naturally on the island and could increase more repeaters of tourists which will cause island's economy better. 

 

On the other hands, if a guide gave them a bad impression, they don't want to come back here again.  Also if customers are truly satisfied with the sightseeing tour on Kauai, they may not be interested in coming back here.

 

So what a guide need to do is, I think, to give both satisfaction and dissatisfaction that they couldn't visit all attractive places. Of course, a guide is not necessary to intend to give dissatisfaction to the guests. It all depend on the guide...how much he/she know the island and its attractive places.

 

It would be a challenge for me to work for Kauai Outdoor Adventures & Tours Company which has "experienced tourists" customers who visited here before from Japan.  My very first job gonna be "snorkeling at Na Pali Coast!"   Once again, I'm very excited about this job but at the same time, I'm pretty nervous since I'm not a good swimmer!

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Sat

27

Aug

2016

Necessity is Mother of Invention

While staying in Japan, I saw many cool products I had never seen in Hawaii. One of them was a stapleless stapler called "Harinacs."  

 

I actually heard this product from a small request from my friend here.  She texted me that she wanted me to get a stapleless stapler in Japan.  When I heard it, I couldn't imagined it but thought it was a great invention!  So I ordered more than enough staplers by Amazon Japan instead of going to the store to look for the product.  I wished I could give this to more friends.

 

However, at the last minutes, I realized that my credit card company stopped my card because of the suspicious purchasing!  They thought it was the last thing for the Hawaii resident to buy products through Amazon Japan in Japan.  Then they stopped my card. I knew it at the very last minutes when I was about to leave my hometown for Tokyo.

 

Therefore, fortunately or unfortunately, I needed to go to the store to get it.  The reason why I wrote "fortunately" was because I recalled that my wife already bought this product when I saw it at the store.  Good thing I remembered!!!  I'm pretty sure I would be scolded if I bought too many of this!   I completely forgot this because  we didn't like this product and didn't use much.   It was true without any staples, it can bundle some paper.  It is really amazing.  However we didn't like it made a hole on the paper.

 

Anyway, let me show you how it works.

 

Usage is exactly same as a regular stapler.  Just place the stapler on the paper to stick together, and then grab and press the holders. That's it.

Then this stapler made a hole and with the paper of the hole, paper can stick together.

 

Once again, this is a great invention and we don't need any staplers ever!  However, we need to understand the reason why this was invented in Japan.

 

As you may know, Japan is one of the most strict countries about separating rubbish for recycling.  At hotel as a guest, you can throw away anything in the room but did you know hotel workers need to separate your rubbish after you leave?  

 

In Japan, rubbish are categorized as at least 7 kinds and the dates when they pick up rubbish are all set.   They are,

 

1. Rubbish that can be burned.

2. Kitchen Waste that can be a compost.

3. Rubbish that cannot be burned.

4. Bottle/ Bottle lid/ Can/ Glass

5. Newspaper/ Magazine/ paper

6. Hazard Waste such as Lighter, 

7. Plastic rubbish

 

This means you cannot throw away anything anytime.  Before taking rubbish out of the house, you need to separate it and keep it for certain time and then take them to the pick-up place.  In case you mixed them together and took them to the place, they will reject your rubbish!  Very strict!

 

So in Japan, you need to separate a staple and paper. Paper is categorized as recycled material and staples are for the rubbish that cannot be burned.  They pick them up on the different dates.  It sounds so annoying!  

 

But because of this feeling of annoying and necessity, somebody invented a stapleless staple!!!  This is just like a famous saying, "Necessity is mother of invention."

 

Fortunately or unfortunately, after coming back to Hawaii, I feel..... what a paradise that I don't need to separate rubbish!  This is really great for us but how about for Earth?  This made me think seriously about human and nature.  I'd better spend more energy to do recycling!

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Sat

20

Aug

2016

2016 Segaki Concert

 

 It has been 6 years since I started to help my family temple's O-Bon in Joetsu.  I visited members' houses to offer prayer at their family altars and helped cleaning the temple and graveyard.  Also I helped to have a Segaki Service and annual music concert in August 18th.

 

My father explained this concert was a kind of requiem which offers good music not only to members but also to the deceased and hungry ghosts to enjoy the music.  

 

This year, my niece who is a young talented violinist (2014 Winner of the Niigata Music Contest)played Japanese and some classic music together with my sister (Piano) and her husband (Oboe). 

 

 

While listening their performance of classic songs, I thought good music is always well-balanced of "Tension and relaxation" "strength and weakness" "Loud and quiet" and "fast and slow."  If these elements were well-balanced in the song, it must be a great music.

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Sat

13

Aug

2016

Reality is more strange than novels.

Aloha everyone from Japan.

 

Last night, I came back here to my family temple in Niigata where I am helping for O-Bon.  It is kind of strange that Ive just finished O-Bon in Hawaii and again I welcomed the deceased for O-Bon in Japan.

 

Is this just happening? or Fate?  Ive just experiend the most chicken-skin-story I ever had.

 

It was 5:00 in the morning that I happened to see two ladies were knocking on the front door of my family temple in Japan.  I knew some members come early to the temple in order to clean up their family grave on the very first day of O-Bon.  They clean up in the morning and later at night or afternoon, they come here again to offer prayer with their family members.

 

So I knew members come early but I didn’t expect strangers came to knock the door at 5:00 a.m. as soon as I woke up.  Later I found out they were members but it was really strange they asked me to come to their gravestone without saying `Good morning.`   Then they told me that they heard a cat was mewing from the stone.  They were wondering how did a cat get into the stone?  Since I like cats, I was curious to see a cat in Japan and I thought it would be easy to save a cat.

 

However when I got there, I found it looked impossible for a cat to get inside stones.  There was no gate, no hole, and no space for a cat to enter the stone.  It is really impossible.  So I told You only imagined you heard it.  But as soon as I told them there should be no cat, I surely heard a cat mewing.  Oh my goodness, there was a cat.  Because this mewing was so real, at least I thought there was a cat there.

 

Then my mother came to the grave yard of the temple. When I told her we heard a cat mewing, she told me a very surprising thing.

 

 

``Kosen, you know who is inside this grave? It was Mrs. Y.  Grandmom of this family loved cats and remember when you took cats from the park and kept them here, the grandmom brought a very good fish for your cats.

 

As soon as I recalled it, all of sudden, I thought this must be my cat Nyankichi who passed away in May 24 this year.  Nyankichi was 15 years old and she was always with us at Koloa Jodo Mission and she loved people, especially when we had a service.

 

 

Although we had a private service and dedicated a lantern for her but I couldn’t announce her death till now.   So I guessed she wanted attention and she came to Japan with me and sent message through the family who loved cats. 

 

 

When I told this story to them, they said they had chicken skins since they heard mewing so many times when they first went there.  But after my hearing mewing, we couldn’t hear it anymore. 

 

 

Honestly I am not sure about the truth.  We now know any cats cannot be in the gravestone!  But we surely heard mewing from the stones!  The truth I know is I am having O-Bon here again to welcome the depart souls.  And I realized reality can be more strange than novels.  My deepest prayer and aloha to Nyankichi.  Namu Amida Butsu

1 Comments

Mon

08

Aug

2016

2016 Toro Nagashi

Many prayers, kindness, thoughtfulness and love became a form of lanterns last night at Toro Nagashi Ceremony.  Traditionally lanterns during O-Bon are signs to lead deceased coming back.  They say with lanterns' lights, deceased can come back home without getting lost and return safely to the place where they belong to.  So lanterns can be just like street lights of the road.  By lighting up the road, people can walk or drive home safely.  

 

I wondered, however, do deceased need lights when they come back here?  Can they get lost if we don't have lanterns?   My answer, after some thoughts, were "No."   I believe they don't need lights because they belong to the place where incredible lights are always lighting and shinning.  We call it Jodo or Pure Land and deceased cannot get lost.

So the truth is...the one who needs lights is actually us, who always have a tendency to get lost.  We need lights in order to live without our beloved deceased.  We need lights in order to live peacefully and happily in our daily life.  So the lights can be anything....Faith, Love, kindness, and aloha and with these lights, we can live better lives here without our dear beloved ones.   O-Bon is the time when we can realize lights we need and we can easily see those lights through the forms of lanterns we dedicated.

A big mahalo to those who sponsored lanterns, O-Toba and Ko-Toba.  Your kindness and aloha to the deceased will also help our temple to continue our O-bon next year.  Thank you so much!

0 Comments

Sun

31

Jul

2016

Thank you very much for supporting our 2016 Bon Dance!

 

Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo Mission was finished last night.  My sincerest Mahalo to our members, friends, helpers and participants.  Thank you very much for supporting our Bon Dance. 

 

For this Bon Dance, I did work hard both praying and preparation such as writing O-Toba, Ko-Toba, making Toro Lanterns, O-Bon decoration for the temple, yard work, and shopping supplies.  I did without having a vacation during the summer.  I only took four days of day-off in order to do another job of guiding and entertaining my guests.  Therefore I couldn't have a chance for family trip.   But this year Bon Dance was absolutely worth spending my energy and time because I was able to deepen my gratitude for our members and helpers who also spent so much time and energies for our Bon Dance.   

 

I realized many of our helpers came to help by using their money of traveling, car and gasoline.  At the same time, they used their vacations or free time in order to help us.  The more they help us, the more they would lose their free time.  On the other hand, I'm paid for what I do for the temple.  So it is nothing special to work hard for the temple.  Rather, since I get a paycheck, I have to work hard, that's my duty.

 

Now I deeply realize I am living here thanks to the many people's kindness, compassion, good will, and sacrifices.   I thought I was the one who was helping people but the truth was the opposite.  People are always helping me and I'm so grateful for this fact. 

 

Once again, thank you so very much for your support to our Bon dance.  Because I've received so much kindness, I want to be kind to others more than ever.

0 Comments

Mon

25

Jul

2016

Smallest Simplest Pleasures

It was so small and simple thing but I felt so much pleasure when I pulled out the weed recently.  As you see, this weed was not rooted in soil but rooted in graveled path.  So it was relatively easier to take out but yet I had a feeling of "get it."   Although this feeling didn't last, this was surely the moment when I felt euphoria which is usually produced by the endorphins.

 

All of sudden, I became so curious about any other simple activities which could trigger endorphins to produce and started to google.  Then I found the following pictures from the blog@karapaia.  Keywords were,

"Everyday life" "small pleasure" and "endorphin."

There were actually many moments of different activities listed on line,

such as;

 

1. The moment when you peel a thin protective sheet from the brand-new electric product.

2. The moment when you walk into a building with Ac and the wave of cooler air hits you for the first time.

3. The moment when you get something stuck in your teeth.

4. The moment when you can delete many tiles by matching Tetris puzzle.

5. The moment when you can clean dramatically by the high-pressure washing machine

6.  The moment when you feel neckless on your hand.

7.  The moment when you thought you woke up late but found out you had so much time.

8.  The moment when you were able to insert a bill to the vending machine smoothly for the first time.

9. The moment when you peel pre-paid card...

 

Also I found the following happy moments from dailymail.com

 

1. A shower with good water pressure

2. Lying in your own bed after a long journey.

3. Fresh baked bread and good quality butter

4. The first sip of a drink when you are thirsty.

5. Getting goosebumps from a song

6. Causing someone to laugh that you admire or look up to.

7. Taking your bra off at the end of the day

8. Starting a task and finishing it.

9. Getting a popcorn kernel out of your teeth.

10 Waking up for work, only to realize it's Saturday

 

By researching and listing up many types of activities, I've found they have at least one thing in common...

 

That is when we feel happiness, it always contain two opposite actions or conditions, such as "difficult and easy", "stick and release",  "push and pull" "Early and late", "hot and cold", "plus and minus" "dirty and clean" and so on.  Then when two different conditions or actions became one with good balance, this is the moment when we feel happiness.

 

So there are many kinds of small and simple pleasures, but they are all rooted in the condition of "well-balanced" which can be expressed as "middle path" in Buddhism.

 

This can explain why people want to have time of meditation by sitting in a temple.   This is because we are always making actions or working something, which naturally seek for "non-action" which can be some quiet time of meditation.

 

From the view point of balance, meditation is nothing but seeking for the balance of both dynamic and static, in and out, and work and rest, tense and release, and plus and minus.

0 Comments

Sat

23

Jul

2016

Best Bon Dance

I think Bon Dance at Kauai Soto Zen can be the best Bon Dance in the state of Hawaii.   They have good funding, huge parking space, big ring for many dancers to dance spaciously, many helpers from the community and many great entertainments.... It was really like mini-county fair and I want to call it 3E-Bon Dance....
 
1. Exciting
2. Entertainning
3. Educational
 
Now I'm thinking....I know our temple cannot be like Kauai Soto Zen. We don't have many helpers. We have very limited parking space and no flying-saucer.  However, I sincerely wish to do my best for members, friends, and visitors to have good times at our temple.   At the same time, I thank all both living and dead for making our 2016 Bon Dance.  
Mahalo and hope to see you here at Koloa Jodo Mission on July 29 and 30, 2016.

 

1 Comments

Mon

18

Jul

2016

Sensei

 

The other day at Kapaa Jodo Mission, I really enjoyed meeting with their yardman.

 

 

 

Yardman: "Hi, you are so familiar. What's your name?"

 

 

Kosen: " My name is Kosen.  I'm a minister.  Nice to meet you!"

 

 

Yardman: "How do you spell?


Kosen:  "K - O- S- E- N, Kosen.  People call me sensei, too"

 

 

Yardman:  "What? You are Sensei? No way!"

 

 

Kosen: " Yes, I am sensei.

 

 

Yardman " No, you cannot be."

 

 

Kosen: " Well, I'm a teacher of Jodo Buddhism and people call me Sensei."

 

 

Yardman " Wait, Sensei means teacher? I thought Sensei meant Ninja Master...."

 

 

Both: Lol

 

 

Kosen: "You are right.  Sensei means a lot....

 

 

 

According to a Japanese dictionary online, "Sensei" means

 

 

 

1. The person who teaches academic disciplines, studies, music, sports, art and technique.   Especially, teachers at schools are called "Sensei."   Also the person who can teach you something directly can be called "Sensei" as a meaning of master.

 

 

 

2. The person who can lead people is called Sensei....such as medical doctor, CPA, lawyers, politicians, priests, and teachers in general. 

 

 

 

3. The person who are born before you.  i.e., Older person

 

 

 

Last but not least, sometimes, Sensei is used when you want both respecting and teasing.  For example, when I have something to ask my wife, I call her "Sensei!" 

 

It may be interesting to read Sensei and similar words at Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

0 Comments

Sun

17

Jul

2016

Instinct?

I've just made Sushi for Kapaa Jodo Mission which has a Sunday Service today from 10:00 a.m.

 

When I saw leftover Ebiko, I noticed a possible interesting fact of our instinct.

The possible fact is.....I used more green ebiko than red Ebiko.  Interestingly, same thing happened at Kapaa Jodo when we made Sushi for Bon Dance.  I saw helpers used much more green than red.  So I just thought this can be our natural instinct we try to avoid using red for food.   As you know, red is color of blood.

 

All of sudden, I remembered yesterday I had plenty of "red and white Chichi-dango" from Honda Family.  Let's see which color I ate more.......this can be another example that I try to avoid eating red color....Then I saw it.

That's right...I ate more white chichidango than red.  However what shocked me was .....I ate so many chichidango at night after Bon Dance at Waimea Higashi and now there are only four left!  Yes, I ate too much and I need to start diet today.

 

0 Comments

Fri

15

Jul

2016

Mahalo Kauai Coffee!

Lately I saw the guy who were refilling Kauai Coffee with so many cups at Visitor Center.  Then I happened to learn....you can refill Kauai Coffee for free for life time at the visitor center as long as you have a Kauai Coffee Brand cup or pot. 

 

A big Mahalo Kauai Coffee!!!  I am now one of the refilling guys at the visitor center.

 

0 Comments

Wed

13

Jul

2016

Kalalau Lookout

This is beautiful Kalalau valley which is one of the highlights of Garden Island.  I've been there at Kalalau lookout so many times but I never looked this Kalalau lookout from the ocean.  So one of my dreams was to photograph this lookout and entire valley from the ocean. 

 

Fortunately, I was lucky I had two chances to participate in the dinner cruise this year.  However weather was so cloudy and rough that I couldn't see the ridge at all.   Then another chance for the cruise came to me last week and finally I was able to capture the lookout from the ocean.

 

Now let's enjoy the quiz.....

Which is Kalalau lookout in the picture above?

Is it A? B? C? D?

 

 

 

To my surprise, the answer was....

Kalalau Lookout seen from the ocean.
Kalalau Lookout seen from the ocean.

I found a fence and a few people at the point A after cropping the photo.

0 Comments

Mon

11

Jul

2016

Pure Land Life

Pure Land Life magazine is available at Jodo Shu Temples in Hawaii.  It's for free.  For members and friends, please pick it up at Koloa Jodo Mission or you may download the file.

 

Pure Land Life 2016 No. 29.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 15.2 MB
0 Comments

Fri

08

Jul

2016

Virgin Road

I've been extremely busy for the past week since I started preparation for our O-bon at Koloa and a wedding ceremony for the young couple from Japan. 

 

At first, a bride left everything about planning to me, so I didn't make any special preparation.  I was just thinking to officiate the ceremony nicely.   However, my wife took my position of wedding planner.....then I became extra busy.....to follow my wife's order to do this and that.

 

Chairs have to be white?  White chairs don't look clean.  We need white wedding aisle runners?   This planner is so meticulous.   I had to go to Kapaa Jodo Mission to borrow 21 chairs...while doing some other jobs simultaneously.   Then I spent several hours to find white aisle runners.

 

Absolutely no time for rest except eating and facebooking. (Yes, I do more facebook for which I write more nowadays.)  This was like marathon which consists of 100meter dash so many times.  But thanks to this planner many jobs were completed.  Getting to be nicer place for the wedding which will be held tomorrow.

 

By the way, wedding aisle runner is called "Virgin road" in Japan.  Yes, virgin road is one of the interesting "Wasei Eigo" which Japanese created by combining English words.  

 

For me, this white clothes look like white path of the nenbutsu faith.    I think I should explain...this is not a virgin road but a white path.  Being led by Amida Buddha's white path, the couple is going to be married in front of the Buddha.

 

0 Comments

Tue

05

Jul

2016

Happy Fifth of July

Aloha!  I hope you have enjoyed the forth of July and today I would like to say "Happy Fifth of July!"

 

I know we don't say "Happy Fifth of July!"   However, this expression can be a reminder that each day can be celebration and you can be happy today.

 

Once again, happy Fifth of July to you and your family.

0 Comments

Sun

03

Jul

2016

Preparing "Aloha"

"Sensei, how come you grow plants in small containers?"

This is one of the most frequent questions I receive from the visitors.

 

Then they understand very well whenever I answer like this, "Because this is not my land."

 

But now I have another answer.  "I have many planting pots because I want to express my aloha to the guests."

 

How?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the aloha I made yesterday after working all day long at the yard.

Yes, I wanted to make Aloha by planters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I made another one in front of the Yagura.

By making Aloha, I thought preparing "O-Bon" is just like preparing "Aloha" to the guests....both living and the dead.  I'm now ready to spend lots of energy and time to prepare our O-Bon which will be held in July 29 and 30 here at Koloa Jodo Mission.

 

Past similar article;

(picture of Aloha)

 

 

0 Comments

Thu

23

Jun

2016

4K Resolution

I don't know if it is finally or early but I started using 4K resolution camera after wishing to have it for a long time.  The test shooting at Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo was just amazing.  Also I was surprised to know YouTube had a option to see this video at 4K resolution.  

 

However I saw some demerits....because of memory size of video, it's hard to edit smoothly with my slow pc and also it takes time to upload it to the youtube.  At Kapaa, it took almost all day long to finish uploading this video. 

 

One of the reasons why I film every Bon Dance every year is for the future.  I want to capture this wonderful moment to pass it to the future.

0 Comments

Fri

17

Jun

2016

Hepburn Romanization

Some time ago, Mr. Gerald Hirata asked me about Romanization of Japanese characters.  He is well-known as "Mr. Zenshuji (Kauai Soto Mission)" and also another "Mr. Bon Dance on Kauai" who is studying roots of Bon Dance in Hawaii.

 

His question was about spelling of the popular ending Bon Dance Song, called ”べっちょ.”   Is it "beccho" or "betcho"?   According to Mr. Hirata, he saw "betcho" in the professor's thetis and also saw "beccho" in my youtube channel.  He wondered which should be correct.

 

Actually I didn't pay any attention to the accuracy of spelling until I was asked.   Since there are several methods of Japanese spelling, I thought it didn't matter whether it was betcho or beccho.   However another opinion by the professor made me curious which should be correct.  One time, I enjoyed listing differences between priest and scholar, and I knew scholar should be right as far as accuracy is concerned.  

 

This is how I found an interesting website to convert "Japanese Hiragana and Katakana" into roman characters.   This website is called "Hebon-shiki-Henkan-kun" meaning "Mr. Hepburn romanization system Converter."  What you need is  just to type or "copy and paste" Hiragana and press "convert."  That's it.   Then roman characters will appear into the right space.

 

Hepuburn Romanization system is known as standard and then I knew it was "Betcho" for my first time.  According to Hepuburn, it should be "betcho."   

 

Then what is the meaning of Betcho?  Some people here including Mr. Hirata already know the meaning, but I'm still thinking whether I should  explain it or not since this might give you shocking of the hidden history of Bon Dance.

 

Hope to see you Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission tonight!!!  Aloha.

0 Comments

Wed

15

Jun

2016

2016 Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission

Bon Dance on Kauai this weekend will be held at Kapaa Jodo Mission on Friday, June 17 and Saturday June 18.

 

The food booth will open around 6:00 p.m. and Bon Dance starts around 7:30 p.m.   There will be flying saucer, Saimin, BBQ Beef, Chili Rice, Pronto pup,  Inari, Andagi (Okinawan Dougnuts), Shave Ice and also some homemade baked goods such as Manju

 

Entertainment during intermission will be held around 8:45 p.m. as follows;

 

Friday, June 17

Taiko Performance by Joyful Noise led by Sensei Aki Conquest

Saturday, June 18

Sanshin Performance by Kauai Sanshin Club led by Alan Hiranaka

 

Parking space?   Yes, we have!!!

Parking for Bon Dance will be at Fall Fair!!! in front of Otsuka's.....a little far from the temple (less than 2min.)   Thank you FAIR for allowing us to use the parking.

My favorite food at Kapaa Jodo Mission are Andagi (Okinawan Doughnuts), Shave ice with Pineapple syrup (This is da best syrup) and flying saucer! 

 

Once again, please come to Bon Dance at Kapaa Jodo Mission this weekend.  Aloha!

0 Comments

Wed

15

Jun

2016

Time or Money?

During the past three days, my computer got stuck again in editing Bon Dance videos and stopped responding frequently.  So I needed to delete or move in order to get enough space to do video-editing. 

 

To my surprise, there were 127,200 Files (4821 folders) in my picture folder and 877 files in my video folder.   No wonder it took time for such a simple job.  In order to look all files with pace of one photo per a second,  I'd need at least 127,200 seconds which is 35.33 hours!!!   So I gave up deleting unnecessary files.   Instead, I bought another 4TB hard drive at Costco.  Yes I chose to save time and to use money for the time.  

Now I can work with my computer and do blogging again!!!

0 Comments

Fri

10

Jun

2016

Honen & Shinran

I've completed adding English subtitles to this special TV program called "Honen & Shinran: Treaures Related to the Great Masters of the Kamakura Buddhism." 

 

This was originally released in 2011 in commemoration of the 800th Grand Memorial of Honen and the 750th Grand Memorial of Shinran. 

 

Because this excellently introduces two great Pure Land masters and their thoughts and treasures, I couldn't resist the feeling that I wanted to share it with English speaking friends as soon as I watched it.  

 

First, I did rough translation in April 2014.  Later, I asked both Gary and Eric for the proofreading. Then I received a revised translation from Eric.  It was December 2014.  Eric wrote me he was sorry for the belated revision. But it was really nothing since it took me two years to start adding English subtitles to the video. 

 

Yes, I'm the one who is really sorry!!!  I think I am sometimes a very good engine but my engine takes time to start!!!   So the warming up time to edit this video was two years but actual time I spent to complete it was 7 hours.  With my busy Bon schedule, I did it today without eating lunch.

 

Since I completed my mission to translate Bon Dance Songs on Kauai, I'm now willing to do more translation for the sake of Jodoshu.

 

 

0 Comments

Wed

08

Jun

2016

Bamba Odori

 

"Banba Odori" is a popular folk song in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture which is located in the island of Kyushuu.  This Japanese word "Banba" came from "baba" meaning "horse-riding ground" where a big Bon dance was once held to wish for the good harvest of rice.  Then Bon Dance at the horse ground(baba) came to be called "Bamba Odori."  As you know, "odori" means "dancing."

 

This song talks about beautiful scenery and rich history of Nobeoka City which was developed as a castle town.  The castle name is Nobeoka-jo, known as "Shiroyama (castle hill) ".  It has had a bell tower which let people know the time, six times a day.  Therefore this song invites people to come to listen to this bell in the first verse.  Also this song mentions a famous Tanka (Japanese short poem) Poet, Bokusui Wakayama has left excellent poems about his memory of this castle.

 

The second verse is about beautiful nature in Nobeoka.  Two outstanding rivers of Gokase and Oose, run through the town to pour into the harbor.  Then there are famous Onsen (hot springs) of "Hoori " and "Kitagawa"   On the river, there is huge fish trap called "Yana" and houseboat, too, to enjoy dinning.  It should be a good experience to eat delicious fresh grilled "Ayu" by the river.

 

The third verse is about current scenery of Nobeoka.  There is a beautiful mountain hill called "Atagoyama" which is selected one of the best 100 mountains in Japan.  From there, you can enjoy sceneries of four directions.  In the east, you'll see Oonada which is known as a very rough ocean and in the west, there are range of mountain hills.  Then in the south, there are many terraced fields and six giant factories in the north.  Currently, Nobeoka is famous as an industrial area of Japan. 

Then, this song invites people to stop by at Nobeoka when they come to Miyazaki. 

1 Comments

Tue

07

Jun

2016

Nippon Daiko

I've just uploaded another Bon Dance video with English translation.  I used 2012 & 2013 videos at both Lihue and Hongwanji. 

 

For me, "Nippon Daiko" was very interesting since I couldn't find any basic information on this song through internet.  Whether it's Japanese or English, there was completely no information except some youtube videos including my video.   

 

So I still don't know who was a singer, when this was made and so on.  If you know information on this song, I'd very very very very very very much appreciate your post in the comment.  

 

The lyrics for this song is about to enjoy hitting Japanese drum harmoniously and happily with many other people.

 

0 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2016

Translation of Bon Dance Songs

When I was working at Jodo Mission of Hawaii in Honolulu in 1997, Bishop Chikai Shibamura once took me to the evening Dharma Talk at the Buddhist Study Center.   The speaker was Dr. Taitetsu Unno, a well known Shin Buddhist Scholar and minister all the way from Boston.   At that time, I was not so sure about my understanding in English, so I brought a cassette recorder with me.   What a brave man!!!...  I asked Dr. Unno if I could record the talk.  I remember he told me that I can feel free to record his talk.

 

Yes, I was right.  My understanding was so poor that I could only tell his talk and sense of humor were so outstanding.   Then I decided to do transcribing his talk from the recorded tape with a help of my English Tutor.

 

First, I wrote down words and sentences which I was able to catch from his talk and I took memo for what I was not able to follow.  There were actually more memos and blank and then together with my tutor, listened to the tape and filled the missing words.   As we worked together a little by little, I was so surprised to know there were actually some words that my English tutor couldn't catch and I often heard the expression from my tutor, "I think he said something like xxxx."   It was really surprising since I thought all American could catch what they are talking each other, but later I learned they never catch every single words while talking each other.  Rather for many parts, they omit and guess many words & meanings, and use assumption to understand what they are talking. 

As I stayed here longer, I got to know Japanese was same, too.   When I tried to transcribing lyrics from the Bon Dance CD.  There were many  words I couldn't catch with confidence.   Yes, they are Japanese which I speak and understand.  Most words are not difficult, but sometimes it was very hard to tell whether it is "wa" or "ga" from hearing.

In fact, when I saw some Japanese transcription of the lyrics made by Mrs. Aiko Nakaya through Mr. Alton Miyamoto.  There were some differences between hers and mine.  So I needed to listen to the CD again and again and again, but yet, there is still a part I'm not so sure which is correct.

I think as compared to English, Japanese should be easier to read but much more difficult to understand from hearing.  This is because Japanese doesn't have many consonants as compared to English.  As a result, there are much more homonyms (same pronunciation but different meanings.)   Therefore, when we need rightly to understand what they are talking , we need more knowledge of Japanese words, characters and their meanings.   Translation from lyrics is easy, but to have lyrics from hearing is hard

So the most difficult part of the translation of the Japanese Bon Dance Songs is to get correct Kanji characters of the lyrics.   

For example, one of the most difficult words from hearing was from a passage from "Tankou Bushi."

The word was "Shiki."   This word was used in the sentence "Shiki wo deru no o machi kane te...."

I am sure most Japanese don't know what is shiki?  Because there are many Kanji for Shiki, I needed to know which Kanji was used from the list below.

 

式 (Shiki =ceremony)

 

識(Shiki=Recognition)

 

敷(Shiki = to lay)

 

死期(Shiki=One's last hour)

 

指揮(Shiki=Conduct)

 

四季(Shiki=Four Season)

 

如き(Shiki=just like)

 

士気(Shiki=morale)

 

史記(Shiki, History Record)

 

始期(Shiki, Beginning Term)

 

織(Shiki=to weave)

 

鋪(Shiki=tunnel for a mine)

 

私記(Shiki, Private Diary

 

and so on and on.    Then I finally found out "shiki" in this song was written as (Shiki) which meant "a tunnel or passageway for a mine." 

 

Then another difficulty was figurative usage of the word or the metaphor for the special terms.  

For example, "Oya" is known as "parent."  Then "Mi-oya" or "Oya-sama" is a polite expression for the parent.  However, "Mi-oya" in the Jodo Buddhist tradition, this doesn't mean "parent but it's "Amida Buddha."  

This expression is included in the song, "Shiawase Samba."  I don't know if you know it or not, this my favorite song is actually a religious song.

I think everybody here likes the song "Shiawase Samba" and if you know some Japanese, you probably recognize the word "Shiawase" as "happy" or "happiness."   And most people imagine this song as "happy-go-lucky" song, don't you?

 

However, what this song means "Shiawase" is very religious.  Specifically, it talks about happiness to spread the teaching of Buddha and the word Amida Buddha is hidden in this song.  Then what does this song talk about?

Well, I've just uploaded a video of "Shiawase Samba" with English translation using last year's and this year's video!!!!  While hearing the song and looking dance, you can now see Japanese lyrics with English translation in the video above.  

Also I might start a series of lectures called "Let's learn Japanese with Bon Dance songs" to explain lyrics, word by word through my YouTube channel.  

Since I missed to take my vacation, I'm going to spend some time and energy for this translation project from now on.

 

Last ...my apology to Mr. Alton Miyamoto who asked me to translate Bon Dance songs in English a few months ago.   I call Mr. Miyamoto as "Mr. Bon Dance of Kauai" who is so enthusiastic about sharing the heart of Bon Dance with many more people.  

He said he was hoping to distribute simple meaning of each song to the dancers but I'm sorry....I've just started!!!

0 Comments

Sun

05

Jun

2016

Japanese Shodo Class

Sarusuberi Flower bloomed today and we had a Shodo-Class with a honeymooner from Minnesota and new friends from Lihue.

 

I guess my website is getting popular!? since most visitors come here through my website or lonelyplanet website.

 

Last week, there were some visitors from China, Vietnam, Canada and Oklahoma. I think I should take photos of our guests from now on.....so that I won't forget them!!!  Anyway, thank you very much for coming to our temple! 

I started this Shodo Class this year because I regard this is a wonderful way of practice Buddhism to learn middle way(well-balance), perseverance(practice after practice), and meditation (concentration.)

 

Well.... I'm not a Calligrapher but one of the students of my wife!!!  However, I can share some knowledge of Kanji and hidden wisdom through learning Kanji.   Although I prefer to a smaller class but I should like to welcome some more students in the future.  If you are interested in Japanese Shodo, please feel free to contact me!!!  Five more seats available.

 

Today, we learned characters of "big" "Middle" and "Small" and I hope everybody enjoyed shodo just like I did!!!   The characters I wrote was "Bon Dance!" and right after class, I uploaded a video of the first Bon Dance of this year on Kauai as linked below.

 

Now I'm working on the video of "Shiawase Samba" with English translation!!!    For those who are interested in more Bon Dance songs, please check my blog and YouTube channel!

 

Also this past blog post might be interesting to know more about the Sarusuberi (a pink flower.)

0 Comments

Fri

03

Jun

2016

2016 Bon Dance on Kauai

Aloha Everyone! 2016 Bon Dance on Kauai will start tonight at Lihue Hongwanji!!!

 

The weather looks good so far this morning and hope it won't rain tonight and tomorrow night.

 

This year, I completely failed to reserve my vacation since I forgot to keep at least a week for the family trip.  Then I realized I've had enough service and appointments already.  So I'm planning to stay here for entire O-Bon season and participate in all Bon Dances here on Kauai.  Here is a schedule;

 

2016 Kauai Buddhist Council Bon Dance Schedule

 

June 3-4       Lihue Hongwanji      245-6262

June 10-11   Waimea Shingon     338-1854

June 17-18   Kapaa Jodo Mission     822-4319

June 24-25   WKHM-Waimea Temple   335-3195

JULY 1-2        No Bon Dance 

July 8-9         Kapaa Hongwanji      823-0949

July 15-16     Waimea Higashi Hongwanji    338-1847

July 22-23     Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji   335-3521

July 29-30     Koloa Jodo Mission     742-6735

Aug 5-6         WKHM-Hanapepe Temple   335-3195

 

Most temples start dancing at 7:30 pm right after the opening remarks and a short service.  Also food & game booths open around 6:00 p.m.. Intermission performance such as Taiko Drumming will be held around 8:45 p.m. at each temple. For more information, please make sure to contact each temple or check websites.

 

In relation to Bon Dance, there are two Toro Nagashi (Floating Lantern Ceremony) to be held on Kauai this summer.

 

Sunday, June 26 @7:30 p.m. Wailua River State Park hosted by Kapaa Jodo Mission

 

Sunday, August 7 @7:30 p.m. Kukuiula Boat Harbor hosted by Koloa Jodo Mission

 

For ordering lanterns, please contact me through this contact.

You may email me but I found out some emails were not delivered rightly but directly came to the junk mail box.  (This means I'm sorry I'm sure there should have some mails I've never read.) 

 

So the best way to contact me is through this contact or I personally prefer to receive a text at 635-8530. 

 

Anyway, please have a good O-Bon season and Aloha.

 

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Fri

03

Jun

2016

Cause and Effect

 

It's been almost one year since stores at Lihue's newest shopping center started opening.  This was a good event for Kauai since this produced many more jobs on Kauai.  Also this has brought more varieties of products and customers have more choices to go shopping.  However just like relationship between light and shadow, whenever there is merit, demerit is born at the same time.

 

I think one of the demerits of this new shopping center has been a traffic jam.  The westbound highway gets so jammed from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  

 

The other day when I was heading to the Garden Mortuary to officiate the service after sending guests off at the airport, it took 40 minutes to move for just a few miles....from this new shopping center to the human society.   I should not excuse but I was late at the service because of this bad traffic. 

 

I felt so ashamed of myself about being late at the service that I want to drive with much more time to spare from now on.  Also if possible, I'd like to avoid to drive that area in the evening.   This way, I can be far from the heavy traffic jam, at the same time, I cannot be a cause of the jam.   After all, the one who is caught in a traffic jam is both cause of the traffic and a victim of the traffic, too.

By the way, do we need a night roadwork sign during a day time???  I often see cars slow down as soon as they pass this sign during a day time.  But the roadwork is actually done at night.  I guessed this might be one of the reasons, too,  why a heavy traffic jam happens around this area.

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Thu

02

Jun

2016

Smart?

 

In 2005, I welcomed a group of 11 people from Japan and took care of their staying and transportation on Kauai.   They stayed at Coconut Beach Hotel (currently Marriot Courtyard) and they were due to perform Japanese songs and play at Senior nursing homes and Koloa Jodo Mission.

 

What I did for them was to rent a big van (12 passenger-van) and asked our member to take suitcases to hotel.   After their checking-in, I drove a big van to take them to nursing homes and our temple.  It was no problem but on the next day, I had a trouble.  I forgot the reason why, but I couldn't get help from my wife and members for transportation.  

 

Then what I needed to do for them was to take 11 people to the airport after sightseeing.  At the same time, I needed to carry 11 suitcases to the airport.  Although van was big, its trunk was so tiny to carry only a few suitcases.   So I definitely needed somebody's help or needed to ask taxi to carry at least suitcases. 

 

Of course, it should have been easy if I made them to wait at the airport while going to pick up suitcases from the hotel.  Or I could just ask taxi to bring suitcases to the airport.  But of course, I didn't want my guests to waste time and spend extra money.  Instead of asking taxi, I thought and thought the most efficient way to carry both 11 people and 11 suitcases with minimum budget and time. 

 

Then I had a good idea.  "What a smart Sensei am I!" I talked to myself, when I found a way.

 

What I really did was,

 

1.  I asked the hotel to keep all suitcases for several hours after checking out.

 

2.  I took 11 people to sightseeing.

 

3.  I dropped them off at the Wailua Marina for the Fern Grotto Tour.

 

4.  While their going to the tour, I went to the airport parking to get my car (at that time a church van) which I parked there.

 

5.  I parked a big van at the airport parking and instead, I picked up my car and drove to the hotel.

 

6.  I picked up all their suitcases in my car and went back to the airport parking.

 

7. I parked my car with suitcases at the parking and picked up a big van again to drive to the Wailua River.

 

8. I picked up 11 passengers with a van and went to the airport.

 

9. I dropped them off at the airport near check-in counter and went to the parking.

 

10.  I picked up my car which had full of suitcases at the parking and drove to the place where I dropped them off.

 

11.  Return suitcases to them and say Good bye and Aloha! 

 

They were so impressed when they saw my car full of suitcases.  Most people expected to wait a long time at the airport for their suitcase to come.  But I came back so soon because I took a car from the airport parking.

 

I was so relieved when I sent them off.  This was like a moment when I solved a difficult equation.  Then I proudly talked to my wife about this event and asked if I was so smart.

 

But my wife was, maybe, smarter and told me, "No, you are not smart.  You just made a simple story to be more complicated." 

 

Now I think she was right. 

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Tue

31

May

2016

Master Honen & His Students (1)

I've made a list of Master Honen and his students. It was so interesting to know many prominent scholars and priests at that time studied and practiced Nenbutsu under the guidance and teachings by Master Honen (1133-1212).  They all loved and respected Honen and they called him true master.   However their understandings of the teachings of Honen started to be different each other, especially after the passing of Honen.  As you know, this caused their students to have new schools later, which include our denomination of Jodo Shu, Jodo Shin Shu which is one of the biggest Japanese Buddhist Sanghas and so on.

 

I am so impressed by the great presence of our Master Honen again.  The list above looked like a huge river for me.   Yes, because our master is such a huge river, it is naturally to have so many tributaries or branch rivers. This is just like a huge tree has so many branches.   Again, because master Honen was so outstanding, many people were so attracted and followed the master.  

 

This could mean.....in order to know the entire river of master Honen, it's better to know the other branch rivers of denominations, too.   By knowing more about others, we should know more about ourselves. 

 

It is my hope through the studying of Honen's students, I can be more flexible to accept others and cultivate humanity.  At the same time, I wish I can offer help to more people through what I am learning from master Honen.  Namu Amida Butsu.

 

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Mon

30

May

2016

Name of the Temple

I recently received a question from Germany.  It was about Japanese name for our temple, Koloa Jodo Mission.   What do you call Koloa Jodo Mission in Japanese?  I thought this was a very interesting question since most Japanese Buddhist temples' names here in Hawaii have been registered and called as "Mission."  

 

But of course,  the word "Mission" is not Japanese.   According to the Web dictionary, an English word "Mission" means "an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel" or "the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.  Then I knew the word mission came from the Latin "Mittere (miss, mit, mess)" meaning "to send."   So the word "mission" indicates "originally, we are not local but are sent from different place."   

 

Anyway, a Japanese name for our temple is "Koloa Jodo-in."  The pronunciation of "in" is same as an English word "in."   However it doesn't mean "in."  "In" in Japanese means "a huge building surrounded by fences", which used to indicates "temple" and later "nobility."   Then "Jodo" means "Pure Land",  as you know.  

 

Therefore "Koloa Jodo In" in Japanese can be translated into "Koloa Pure Land Temple" in English. 

 

Generally speaking, most Jodo temples in Japan have long formal name which usually includes three different titles.   They are San-gou(山号), In-gou(院号), and Ji-gou(寺号).  

 

For example, the formal name of "Chion-in知恩院" is called "Kacho-zan (San-gou), Chion-in (In-gou), Otani-dera (Ji-gou) 華頂山知恩院大谷寺"and another Jodo Shu head temple, Zojoji has a formal name of  "Sanen-zan (San-gou), Koudo-in (In-gou), Zojoji (Ji-gou)三縁山広度院増上寺."

 

First, "San-gou山号" literally means "Mountain Name."  This indicates temples used to be on the mountains and this custom that a temple has a name of mountain started in China around 6th century when many Buddhist temples were built.  They say because there were so many similar temples' names that they added a location of the temple. 

 

Next "In-gou院号" is a title which were given to the temples of the imperial families.  As "in" literally means "huge buildings" which were owned by nobilities, later, retired emperor was also called "in."  Then during "Edo era", "in" came to mean many more people with high rank or status.  So the "In-gou" was a very honorable title which indicates receiving sponsorship from the nobilities.

 

Last, "Ji-gou寺号" is a title which simply indicates a name of temple.  Ji-gou is usually named by the founder of the temple to mean an important message or a role of the temple.

 

Among three titles, Ji-gou is the most popular and most temples names are called by "Ji-gou." 

 

I don't know why Koloa Jodo Mission didn't have both "San-gou (mountain name) and "Ji-gou."   In 1985, when a new temple building was built, Rev. Kodo Tanaka named "San-gou" of our temple for the first time in the history of Koloa Jodo Mission.  It was named as "Shuho-zan" after the artist Shuho Koiwai who donated ceiling arts to our temple.

This is the character for "Shuho-zan."  Yes, "San-gou" is usually framed and displayed at the entrance of the temple.  Mr. Shuho Koiwai passed away a decade ago, but his name and his art works are living here at Koloa.

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Sun

29

May

2016

Excuse

As you know, computer's response will be really bad as you get more files, software, photos and data on your computer. 

 

What is happening to me is just like my slow computer.  I'm working so slowly nowadays because I have more than enough files, books, photos and videos to work for everyday.  In addition, I have too many things to collect such as plants, empty boxes, plastic cups, newspaper and so on. 

 

But I started to realize this should be the high time to reduce my things.  Otherwise, I am spending too much time just to find what I need.   In a sense, I'm really stack with too many things.

 

I'm so sorry this is the reason why my response is slow.  

From my curiosity, I put all external memories and hard desks on the table and then I calculated total number of the data.  It was over 12TB!!!

 

When I started using my first digital camera, Terabyte was like Universe for me.  Size of a photo was as small as 0.3 MB.  Then size of the memory went higher and higher... 2MB, 8MB, 16 MB....2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64 GB and 128 GB.

 

I never thought the age of terabyte would come.  But it has come.   As you may know, after Terabyte, it comes Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte and Yottabyte....I wonder when do we need petabyte computer in the future?

 

0 Comments

Tue

24

May

2016

Analytics

 

Some time ago, I knew there was a function called "Analytics" at my Youtube Channel.   I felt so interesting this Analytics since this gave me information such as demographic, locations of the viewers, total watch time, devices of the users, numbers of share, and so on. 

 

Then I knew I had a total of 701 videos and during the last 28 days, total watch time by viewers was 65,979 minutes and 27 videos were shared by somebody's websites or social network. 

 

However, among them, I paid the most attention to the average view duration.  Yes, the average view duration time for my videos was only 5 minutes! 

I thought this could mean no matter how much energy and time I spent for the videos especially for my Dharma Talk Videos, people easily quit watching them and change channels if they were not interesting.  I can tell their feeling because I do the same thing when I do watch videos. 

 

Because YouTube always suggest soooooooooo many numbers of videos, I want to watch them one after another however I have limited time to watch. 

So what I do is I quit watching a video as soon as I found out it was boring.  Yes....Five minutes was a long enough to tell....whether it worth watching or not.

 

This shall be a good reminder I should have a very good beginning at my talk or presentation so that I could transmit what I really want to share.

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Sat

21

May

2016

Customer is God in Japan!?

In English, there are many words meaning "customer."  Depending on the place and situation, customer can be called "caller", "guest", " client", "passenger", "visitor", "customer", "audience" and so on. 

 

In Japanese, on the other hand, they are all called "Kyaku客" or "O-kyaku-san (polite expression)" or "O-kyaku-sama (the most polite.)"   So "Kyaku" is very convenient word for Japanese however when we need to translate this Kyaku,  it's not so easy.

 

For example, a famous saying. "Okyaku-sama wa Kami-sama desu(お客様は神様です)" is usually translated as "Customer is like God."   

 

However, a Japanese Singer, Haruo Minami who first said this saying had a different intention.   For him, "Kyaku" was not a customer but an audience.   What he really meant was "he always sing songs with deep respect as if audience were like God."   

 

Interestingly after this saying became so famous in Japan,  this saying came to mean "Customer is God."   And this became an important attitude for many Japanese stores and companies.

 

Indeed, I often hear "People in Japan are so polite" from local people who visited Japan.  I do agree with them since Japanese always bow and smile.  Here in Hawaii, workers at stores are very friendly but they are sometimes too talkative.  They talk to the customers even though they sometimes have a long line.  Also they sometimes don't show appreciation to the customers.  

 

However in Japan, they are trained not to talk to the customers but to concentrate on the customer service with respect.  Just before starting checkout at the store, they bow and after completion of the register, they deeply bow with words of appreciation, "Arigato gozaimashita."  They never talk to the customer like here.

 

I think the reason why Japanese customer service is so good, is hidden in this saying "Customer is God!" 

Yes, because customer is like God who is the most supreme, they can naturally serve them the best.  It is not to President nor King nor Queen, but again it's to God!

But I'm sure some people might not like customer service in Japan but they might prefer to customer service here.  

I think this is up to your answer toward this question....Do you want to be treated as a God? or do you want to be treated as a friend?

0 Comments

Thu

19

May

2016

Q & A about Pure Land Buddhism

 

I felt so honored to receive questions about Pure Land Buddhism from Europe.  Although I don't know anything about the person except he is Portuguese , I feel he is a true Buddhist.  The reason why I felt in this way was because he made a suggestion I could share this Q & A with other people in my website.   It is my belief a true Buddhist has generous heart of giving and sharing.  Thank you R!   Here is Q & A.

 

Q1: I know that you already answered to the question about proving the existence of Pure Land, what I would like to know is if there are any "signs" and maybe some "miracles" so to say, showing that the practice is going well. Maybe there is something on the practice itself that shows people that yes, indeed this is the path.

A1: Traditionally, Practice of Nenbutsu had been done in order to see the real Buddha and his Buddha land.   So the sign or miracle after the practice of Nenbutsu was to see Buddha and his Buddha land.    

 

In Mout Hiei, there is a Jogyo-Zanmai-do Temple which was built in 851.   This was the temple where priests specifically practiced to "see Buddha."   Their practice was called Nenbutsu but this Nenbutsu was to walk around the Buddha all the time, while contemplating Buddha and reciting Buddha's name for 90 days (at least 7 days and usually 90 days).    As you know, this Nenbutsu was not the one Honen taught since their interest was not to attain Ojo (the birth in the Pure Land) but "to see Buddha" itself while Honen's Nenbutsu was for everyone to attain Ojo.  He didn't care any sign after the practice.  He didn't mind whether he saw real Buddha or Buddha land.  Rather he valued both faith and practice to attain Ojo. 

 

 

However, there existed Honen's private diary called "Sanmai-Hottoku-ki" which said, Honen didn't pursue the signs or miracles but he did experience some miracles after having "Betsuji Nenbutsu" for many days in 1198 when he was 66 years old.  

 

According to the descriptions of his diary, there were some levels of signs or miracles Honen was able to see during Betsuji Nenbutsu.  Let me quote some miracles from Honen Shonin Gyojoezu or "An Illustrated Biography of Honen Shonin." 

 

"During the recitation of Nenbutsu,  at first, brilliant light appeared.  Next, he was able to see the jeweled water and pond of the Pure Land.   Later, the ground filled with lapis lazuli  (emerald) appeared for a short time in front of Honen Shonin.

 

In February,  same year, Honen Shonin saw the jewel ground, the jewel pond(*2), and jewel towers of the Pure Land in front of him during the recitation of Nenbutsu.    After this, various features or aspects of the Pure Land appeared one after another.    One time, Honen Shonin emit (gave out) the light out of his left eye(*3).   It was like lapis lazuli which was seemed to be in his (left) eye.   Its shape was like a jar.   Since this shape had a red flower, it seemed to be a jewel jar.   One time, when Honen Shonin viewed toward the west, rows of jewel trees appeared.     These jewel trees looked moving higher and lower as Honen Shonin wished them to be.    One time,  the place where Honen Shonin was sitting became a jewel ground.   One time, Buddha's face appeared in front of him.  One time huge Amida Buddha and his assisted two Bodhisattvas (Kwannon and Seishi) appeared.   One time Seishi Bodhisattva came to see Honen Shonin.    Immediately after Honen Shonin experienced these Samadhi, Honen Shonin had a master of Buddhist arts to paint what Honen experienced.      Also he heard various sounds of the beautiful birds, flute, and harp of the Pure Land.

His experiences in detail were written in Honen Shonin's diary, "Sanmai Hottokuki" by himself.   Honen Shonin never showed this diary to others when he was alive.    It is said that Seikanbo Genchi(1183-1239) read this diary for his first time when he inherited (took over) the Master Honen's place (temple.)    They say Myohen Sozu (1142-1224) of Kouyasan was overjoyed with tears when he saw this record. (page 91-92, From Honen Shonin Gyojoezu in modern Japanese)

 

Also traditionally,  it has been said if you saw "purple cloud" after practicing nenbutsu, this could be proof of attaining Samadhi.   So I believe this kind of sign can happen as a private experience which I have to say...no scientific proof.   

 

As you were curious about miracles, many people in the past were very concerned if their practice was right.  So whenever priest was dying, they got together to support the dying priest by reciting Nenbutsu and also asked him various questions regarding what he was able to see. 

Some priests were very honest to answer "Saw nothing."  Some priests said "Buddha image."  This question and answer at the time of dying, had been done for many years.  This was the only way to confirm the miracle or sign to see Buddha.   More detail for traditional Nenbutsu can be seen in "Ojoyoshu" written by Genshin. 

 

Q2: In the same way, do you know any real accounts of people who were able to reborn on Pure Land and, at the time of their death, there were signs/miracles of their successful rebirth?

 

A2: According to "Gyojoezu" or "An Illustrated Biography of Honen Shonin",  Honen Shonin was successful to be reborn into the Pure Land of Amida Buddha.  The sign is "Amida Buddha's Raiko/Raigo" which Amida Buddha with many bodhisattvas  is coming to the dying person to welcome.  I need to read it again but I think the "Gyojoezu" said many people saw purple clouds when Honen passed away.  As you know, Honen's student, Shinran Shonin didn't value this sign at all.  He didn't even need Amida's welcome since the moment of faith to believe in Amida Buddha was the most important.  It should be interesting to know what was written about both Honen and Shinran's last moments.

 

0 Comments

Tue

17

May

2016

Making Correction for Google Map

Lately at Koloa Jodo Mission, there were visitors from Seattle who were also part-time residents of Kauai.  They said they were interested in attending a Buddhist service.  So I told them the next service would be held at Kapaa Jodo Mission and several days later, to my surprise, they did come to the service at Kapaa.

 

Although attendance at Sunday Service is not good, however, as compared to 10 years ago, numbers of visitors attending to the service are increasing and because of this good tendency, I wish I could stay here for more years. 

 

Anyway, I had interesting information from new participants.  They told me they tried to go to Kapaa Jodo Mission by following the Google Map.  Then they reached the completely wrong place.  Also they told me Kapaa Jodo Mission was categorized as a Jewish Church! 

A big Mahalo to Judy & Jack!  I just want to share how I made correction with you.

1. Log in to my Google account.

2. Google "Kapaa Jodo Mission."

3. Making correction can be done at "Suggest an edit."

Then changed category from "Synagogue" to "Buddhist Temple."  Also clicked Location and moved the marker from wrong place to the correct address.   Later I learned it should be easy to add correct street address in the "Address" instead of moving the location marker.

This is how correction was made.  As soon as completed, I received a following message from the google.

Then I was curious about other Buddhist temples on Kauai.  To my surprise, Waimea Higashi and Waimea Shingon were categorized as Synagogue, too, and Lihue Hongwanji was just categorized as "church."  Also I noticed location of Waimea Higashi Hongwaji was completely wrong.  I might be such a meddling priest but I made correction for them, too.  It actually took a few weeks for my first correction for google map (they investigated and called me directly about information) but now I have good credit for google, that's why, I think, correction can be done so easily.

I hope these changes were OK. 

 

Because many people now rely on information online, so I think it is very important to check at least "my" information is correct from time to time.  

 

0 Comments

Tue

17

May

2016

Beer Brined Cucumber Pickle

Cucumber pickle at Kapaa Jodo Mission was so delicious and I learned cucumber from Big Island is now sold at Costco!  Although I forgot to ask this recipe but I couldn't resist buying this cucumber as soon as I saw it at Costco. 

 

Then I needed to google various cucumber recipes and among them, beer brined cucumber pickle seemed to be very easy and tasty.  I just want to thank the cookpad who provided this recipe online for free!

 

Beer Brined Cucumber Pickle Recipe

Ingredients

Beer 1can/355ml

Cucumber 2lbs (907g) from Costco

Sugar 0.44 lbs (200g)

Salt 0.13 lbs (60g)

 

Directions

1. Measure Sugar 200g & Salt 60g

2. Mix Sugar & Salt & 1 can of beer (355ml)

3. Wash Cucumbers

4. Put Cucumbers in a plastic bag.

5. Add brined beer in the bag.

6. Leave this bag in the refrigerator for at least one night.

Completed!   By the way, I don't drink beer at all.  The last time I drank beer was maybe over one year ago.  I look forward to tasting this pickle tomorrow!!!

0 Comments

Sun

15

May

2016

Long time no see

Looooong time no see!  Unfortunately, I had been sick for a long time but now I feel much better and should restart blog again.   I'm sorry I have many emails I didn't reply yet but will start replying today after the service.  If you are in a hurry, Your reminder will be appreciated!

 

Anyway, today I try livestreaming service from Kapaa Jodo Mission.  In case it didn't work, I will upload another service in the near future.  Have a good day and Alooooha!

0 Comments

Mon

25

Apr

2016

Photos of "I WANT YOU!"

What is vitality?

What is "desire" like?

How can I express "desire" as an image?

What can be a photo of "I want you"???

 

The following photos gave me an opportunity to think about these questions.  I wonder... how do you imagine the photo?

 

 

Interesting?   → Please move a cursor down.

Not interesting?  → Have a good day and Aloooha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day, I noticed something like a vine growing up to the window inside from the hall.

Do you have any idea what is it?  To my biggest surprise, this was....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

....a Japanese mountain yam called "Yama-Imo!!!"   As soon as I saw this "Yama-Imo", I recalled Mrs. Tanaka gave us for our New Year's Party back in February.  This means, this potato has survived without soil and water for over 2 months and was desperately looking for sunlight by growing some vines!

I thought this must be a photo of "I (Yam) want You (sunlight)."

 

Generally, potato has such a strong vitality to live in a very harsh condition.  But I believe we can be stronger as we can learn wisdom! 

 

Last, my apology to Mrs. Tanaka.  I'm sorry I forgot to use Yama-imo for the New Year's Party.

1 Comments

Fri

22

Apr

2016

Nenbutsu Meditation Tonight

Encouraged and helped by Rev. Shinri Maya Hara in California, I asked the Garden Island Paper to publish a Nenbutsu Meditation Night at Koloa Jodo Mission tonight!  Dharma Talk by Gary Link will start at 7:00 p.m. here (at Larger Temple Building next to the First Hawaiian Bank.) 

 

At first, I was reluctant to do this service since I was pretty doubtful about attendance.  Also I didn't know if the Garden Island Paper could publish our service on the paper.  But now I can believe people will come! and I have to thank Rev. Shinri and the Garden Island Paper for this publication.  Arigato gozaimasu!!!

 

So far I received two phone calls about a location of our temple.  Also, Claudia, my Dharma friend in North Carolina kindly sent email notice to the Jodoshu google group in the world.  I'm sure some will join us through the livestreaming video.  So I'm not afraid anymore about attendance.

 

Rev. Shinri told me, "Without try, how can you get a good result?"  She was right.  I thought I was always a challenger however I realized there should be always more to challenge!

 

Also I remember a simple saying by the movie Forrest Gump.

 

"Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." -Forrest Gump

 

Yes, I'll enjoy opening a box of chocolate tonight!  But still we have some time before opening.  So once again, let me pleaes announce.....

 

Evening Dharma Talk and Buddhist Meditational Chanting at Koloa Jodo Mission on Friday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m.   All are welcome!

1 Comments

Thu

21

Apr

2016

Front and Back

Generally speaking, Buddhist temple is beautiful by itself.  Then if there are any additions such as sunset light, rainbow, and another building and candle light, etc., the temple building could be amazing beyond description.

 

So far I've taken thousands of photos of many Buddhist temples, but yesterday morning, I realized one important thing....I was actually surprised to know I had very little photos of back side of the temples while photos of front side are incredibly many. 

For example, the Hall of Compassion at Lawai International Center is especially famous and known as a beautiful temple building on Kauai. 

 

Yes, I took many photos and I know tremendously many people, too,  have taken many photos of the front side of the temple.  But I have a question to those who visited here!  Can you imagine a back side of the temple? What is like a back of the temple?  Or is there anyone who have taken a picture of the back side of the temple?   I'm sure there are some but there must be very few people took the back side of the temple. 

 

In fact, I looked all my photo albums for Lawai Temple and there were actually some photos while working toward completion.

But I couldn't find any picture of the back side of the temple after the completion.   Also at Koloa, I have many photos of the front or left/right side of the temple, but I took very few photos of the back and reason why I noticed this fact was because I saw a beautiful rainbow yesterday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After taking this photo, I deeply realized what I am seeing/viewing reality in my everyday life is very limited.  Yes, I'm looking many things but they all don't come to my mind.   Although I know the importance of looking reality in different viewpoints, but I didn't always have an eye to look from the back of the things.

 

Of course, it is also true that temple buildings have an intention to show mainly front side of the temple to the visitors, but I deepened my observation to look for the reality through the photos of....front and back of the temple.  In the future, I'm sure I'll take more photos of the back side.

1 Comments

Wed

20

Apr

2016

Learning Differences (2)

I think English word "Brother" or "Sister" should be very interesting for Japanese.  Brother is such a simple and easy word and we all know it, however, we cannot translate it exactly into Japanese. 

 

This is because Japanese language doesn't have a word which means both "older brother" and "younger brother."   In Japanese, they are expressed as two different words (Ani/Onii-san & Otouto/Otouto-san) and thus we need to know whether he is "younger brother" or "older brother" when we translate a word "Brother" into Japanese.  But sometimes when I encounter a word "brother" while reading a book, I stay curious whether he is older or younger. 

 

The reason why Japanese has two different words for brother is because of the culture (influenced by Chinese culture) to respect elderly people and the first son of the family used to be valued so highly.  Therefore we need to know whether they are older or younger.  Without knowing it, sometimes it's hard to talk.   

 

This can be another example of how people in different cultures are interested in the certain things.   And the word "brother" is kind of opposite example of the word "horse/uma"  As I mentioned it yesterday, in English, there are so many words for "horse."   But in Japanese, they are all expressed as one word "Uma."  Whether it's pony, horse, colt, stallion, we all call it "Uma." 

 

Then if Japanese need to specify the horse, we add adjective.  This is just like adding adjective of "elderly" or "younger" to the brother or sister, when English speaking people need to specify its meaning. 

 

This afternoon, my friend and his wife came to Koloa from New York.  For me it was very interesting that they used different words for chicken when they see them.   They were "Rooster", "chicken" and "hen."  It was obvious they see chickens as they notice different types of chicken. 

 

On the other hand, I realized I had seen "chicken" as same.   Whether it is rooster or not, they have been all "chicken" for me.   I call them all as "chicken" ,too.

 

Why?  This is because the equivalent of chicken in Japanese, "Niwatori" means both "hen" and "rooster."    But that's not all.  I think this is because  I don't care Chickens!

 

0 Comments

Tue

19

Apr

2016

Learning Differences

It's very interesting that English has so many words which mean "horse."   They are "foal", "yearling", "colt", "Filly", "juvenile", "mare", "sophomore", "gelding", "sorrel", "appaloosa", "bronco", "cob", "steed", "shrew", "mustang", "stallion" and "pony." Depending on the age, sex and characteristics of the horse, their names are all different. 

 

In Japanese, it is very simple.  They are all called "Uma."  Then if you'd like to specify the horse, we simply add the adjective to the word "Uma."   So pony is called "Ko-Uma (Ko=child)", stallion is called "Tane-uma (tane=seed)", and mare is called "Me-uma" or "Mesu-uma."

 

On the other hand, Japanese has so many words meaning "I (myself)."   I wonder how many words did you know? 

The most common word is "Watashi ()" but there are much more words such as "Boku( )" , "Jibun(自分 )" "Shosei (小生)", "Ore( )" ,"Ware ( )" "Uchi (ウチ) " "Sessha (拙者) " "Washi (ワシ)", "Oresama (俺様)",  "Warawa (ワラワ), "Kochitora (コチトラ)","Oira (オイラ)" ,  "Temae (手前 )" Wagahai (吾輩), "Chin ( )" , Yo ()", "Oidon (オイドン) " Soregashi (ソレガシ) ", "Ware ( )"  "Touho (当方 ), "Asshi (あっし)" , " Ora ( おら)" and so on.  They all mean "I" and depending on whom you speak to, expression of "I" can be different.  But in English, you can always use "I" whenever and whomever you speak to.  It doesn't matter whom you speak to, "I" never change.

 

What is the reason why certain words have so many expressions?  I simply think more varieties of expressions of the word indicate the level of people's interest.  So the fact they have more expressions can mean their high interest in the object.

 

For example, the fact English has more words of "horse" simply mean English-speaking people are so interested in "horse."  Indeed, they say British people love horse.  Therefore, they can watch horses mindfully and as a result of mindful watching, they see differences of the horses.  Then we can assume many different words of "horse" were born.

 

I think same is true to the word "I."  Japanese are so interested in the self.  They see mindfully themselves, their relations each other, and themselves in the society.  Then they notice difference of "I."  As a result, "I" can be expressed in different word.  Of course, this is due to the Buddhist influence as Buddhism don't think "I" as an eternal and independent being. 

 

On the other hand, English word "I" and European word "Je" "io" came from the strong concept of "ego."   Ego has been such an important concept and axis in western countries for many centuries and center for the "Identity" which cannot be changed.  Therefore, they didn't need more expressions of "I."  Rather it should be a huge trouble if there are more words of "I."  In fact, our technology and science couldn't have been developed without concept of ego.  When there is stance and axis, there can be progress.

 

I don't have any intention of which language is superior but it should be more meaningful to learn differences in languages.  Different expressions mean different viewpoint...how do we see the reality.  And the more viewpoints to see this world can lead us to the more ways to accept of this reality.   Life is not fun nor pleasure all the time.

Just like mega earthquakes happened in Japan and Ecuador, anything bad could happen anytime without reason.  The more ways to see the reality can be helpful to accept our nature which is unpredictable.

 

My conclusion this morning is .....

Will you come to Koloa Jodo Mission for service?   I'm sure my Dharma talk can be interesting because I talk about what I'm so interested in.   In addition, I have an experience of Sushi chef and I can not only talk about Sushi but also often provide Sushi to the participants. 

I think I'll make Sushi this Friday and Sunday for the refreshments after the services.  It's free!!!   So in case Dharma talk were not interesting, you can at least enjoy Sushi, I hope. 

 

Ok let me announce this weekend again.   On Friday, April 22 @7:00 p.m.  we have an Evening Dharma Talk by Gary Link from New York.  On Sunday, regular Sunday Service will be held on April 24 @10:30 a.m.   

All are welcome and if you come here, you'll know how much welcome you received from the priest!!!

By the way, there are some differences between Japan Buddhist priests and Koloa Buddhist priest.  It may be interesting to know for fun!?

 

Japan Buddhist Priest    V.S.        Koloa Buddhist Priest

Generally Skinny                          Fat

wear Long Pants                           Short Pants

Long Sleeve shirts                        Aloha Shirts or T-shirts

Work as a team                            Independent worker

Stay more at temple                     More holoholo

......

1 Comments

Sun

17

Apr

2016

Being Unselfish is Selfish!

Religious organizations and people seem to like using a word like "Unselfish."   I wonder have you ever received a letter to say, "Thank you for unselfishly sharing your time." or "Thank you for your unselfish dedication" and so on?   In fact, I used to use this word a lot in the past.

 

I think this is because we all value the people who are unselfish and "being unselfish" is one of the highest virtues and best praising word.  And of course, Buddhism seeks for "non-self" which is the way to enlightenment.   On the other hand, "being selfish" is the worst thing and nobody like people who are selfish.  So the usage of the word "unselfishness" naturally encourage all of us to abandon "selfishness."

However, a few years ago, I realized people here use this word of "unselfish" as a meaning of "sacrifice." 

For example, suppose,  you gave a monetary gift and donated time to help Bon Dance at Koloa Jodo Mission.  

Generally, these deeds are considered to be "unselfish."  But I think......what "unselfish" in this context means  is the fact you abandon your selfishness to use money for yourself.  Also you abandon your another choice to spend time for your own leisure.  In other words,  this "unselfishness" indicates "you sacrificed your time and your money to use for yourself, but you used them for others.   I think that's the meaning of "unselfish."

But we need to think why we make donation to the specific organization?  There are many Buddhist temples and much more Christian Churches here.  Also there are many charitable organizations.  If our donation is really "unselfish", we cannot choose organizations and we don't care whether it is unselfish or not.  But what we use "unselfishness" is actually we intend to be unselfish.  Therefore as long as we have an intention,  it should be a part of "selfish"

Yes, a correct expression about this unselfish is....unselfish is one of the "selfishness."   This means it's ok to have a selfishness and we cannot deny our selfishness.   No matter how good things we do, we are selfish to choose what we should do.   And we can be selfish to seek for "unselfishness."  

So what I really want to say here is, again, we don't need to deny our "selfishness."  Rather we need to use our "selfishness" to seek and do for goodness for our society and humanity.

For example, this was my recent donation of Sushi to the Kauai Buddhist Council's Hanamatsuri at Kauai Soto Zen Temple.  The reason of donation?  is, I think, because I'm selfish that I want to be a good person.  Yes, I admit I'm selfish but I want to use my selfishness for others.  I just want to provide good treats to people, especially those who are coming to the service!  In the near future, I think I can extend my selfishness to bring Sushi to the care homes, since I'm now free of my tax preparation!!!!

1 Comments

Fri

15

Apr

2016

Nenbutsu Meditation Night

 

Koloa Jodo Mission will hold a Nenbutsu Meditation Night (Dharma Talk and Meditational chanting of Nenbutsu) on Friday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m.

 

The special guest speaker all the way from New York, Gary Link, is a long-time Buddhist practitioner in the Pure Land Buddhist tradition and a board trustee of the Buddhist Association of the U.S. (BAUS) in New York.  His Dharma Talk, "Pure Land (Jodo) Buddhism in the U.S. and the Bodhisattva Ideal," introduces Jodo Shu, or the Pure Land sect, and the potential of this Buddhist teaching in the U.S. and discusses the idea and role of the bodhisattva (enlightened being) in Pure Land Buddhism.

 

This is a great opportunity to learn about the teachings of Pure Land (Jodo) Buddhism, which has had a long history in Hawaii as one of the major Japanese Buddhist traditions in the islands.   All are welcome to join in the Nenbutsu and Dharma Talk at  Koloa Jodo Mission (3480 Waikomo Road, Koloa).  For more information, please contact me at 635-8530 or email to kosenishikawa@hotmail.com

 

0 Comments

Fri

15

Apr

2016

Survival of the Fittest

Over a decade ago, my cat was stronger than a chicken here. And there were no chickens which eat cat food.  Only bird trying to get cat food was Mynah Bird.

 

But recently I realized chicken came to love cat food.   Their appetite was enormous.  They are always walking around a cat and they are very greedy about taking cat food.

And now chickens are stronger than a cat and they can make a cat run away.  To my surprise, they can fly to the roof of the temple and fight with a mynah bird, too.

This is something I never saw it before.  And I now can see "struggle for existence" in chicken, which may lead to the evolution of the stronger specie on the island.  

 

People sometimes use a word "chicken" as a meaning of coward.  But at least chickens here are not coward.  They are very greedy about eating and struggling for living.  In the future, chicken can survive as a result of "survival of the fittest." 

1 Comments

Thu

14

Apr

2016

4.14 Earthquake

 

I've read msn news about  a powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 has struck southern Japan last night at  9:26 p.m. (1226 GMT) It has been reported that the center of the shock was Mashiki Town, 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Kumamoto city and at least 19 houses collapsed, and hundreds of calls came in reporting building damage. 

 

According to Seismological Society of Japan, average numbers of felt earthquake happen in Japan are 1,000 to 2,000 times a year.   That's a lot of earthquake.  But in 2011, numbers of felt earthquake were 10,681 times (average 30 times a day!).  This means so many multiple aftershocks happened after the big quake and aftershocks are still happening there in southern Japan.

 

My prayer and sympathy to the victims of this quake, especially to the people of Mashiki Town which is known as hometown of many Japanese-American here on Kauai.  If your ancestors are from Kumamoto and you need help to get more information, please let me know.  I am willing to help you.

0 Comments

Fri

08

Apr

2016

Tabebuia

Generally speaking, tourists are so interested in names of plants in Hawaii.  While taking them to the sightseeing on the island, I have received many questions of "What is this tree?"  "What is the name of that tree?" and so on. 

 

On the other hand, I feel many local residents are not so interested in names of the plants. They know many plants but they are not sure about names.  I think this can be explained by words of "special" and "common."

 

For example, if we eat "special food" every day, no matter how good it may be, it cannot be "special" sooner or later.  "Special food" can be easily "normal food." 

 

In like manner, for residents, because we get used to see "special things" as a matter of fact, everything we see can be understood as "normal."   As a result, we lose interest in normal things.

 

On the contrary, for visitors, everything they see can be special.  Even a common tree in Hawaii can be special for visitors if they are not familiar with it.  Therefore they can be easily curious about their "special" things.

 

So what I want to say is.....it's usually hard to get names of the trees from people here.  It can be easier to google the name of plants on internet. 

 

I found the name of these yellow flower trees as "Tabebuia" by google search.  To be exact, it is Tabebuia aurea and it's commonly called "Caribbean trumpet tree. "

The other day when I drove down the poipu road, I noticed the Tabebuia was so beautiful.  Immediately without hesitation,  I stopped the car and took photos.  Then I saw some more people stopped the cars to watch the yellow flowers.

It is of course a very small thing, but my decision and their decisions to stop the car were right.  On the next day, most of the flowers were scattered by the North Wind.

Our Master Honen said, "The blossom that opens in the morning is scattered by the evening breeze, and the dew, condensed in the hours of darkness before dawn, is dispelled by the rays of the morning sun. Heedless or willfully ignorant of this procession of changes, man dreams of prosperity all through life and, without understanding the nature of transience, hopes for longevity."

(from "Words of Dharma")

 

I thought this was a good reminder that we should realize this nature of transience and always live in the present moment, which is supposed to be series of "special moments."

 

1 Comments

Thu

07

Apr

2016

True Test for True Honesty

When your minister officiates a memorial service for your beloved one, what do you give to him/her?  Is it cash or check? or Is it food or goodies or a gift card or... maybe all of them?

 

The reason why I am asking is because I tend to receive cash.   For a long time I didn't know the reason why I received more cash than checks.....till one of the Buddhist members told me "most members give cash to ministers so that ministers don't need to report cash income to IRS."  He continued to say, "Saving tax money helps ministers to work well" 

 

This really surprised me because I reported all income to Hawaii GE Tax and IRS.  I've simply paid 4% of my cash income to the State.   I didn't think I didn't need to report cash.  Of course, this was right.  We need to report all income, however, it's also true that they cannot tell my cash income unless I tell the truth.

 

At first, I thought this was very good information.  Because they cannot know my cash, I might be able to escape from paying tax for cash income.  However, this information started to give me dilemma, too. 

 

I started to wonder if I should really report it.....every time I receive cash.  In the past, I was definitely happy to pay tax because I didn't know this information.  So in a sense, I had no choice.   But now I have a choice to report or not to report cash.....according to my true honesty. 

 

Interestingly there should be no members who want their ministers to tell a lie or to be dishonest.   Also members are honest and kind to their ministers.  However the fact members give cash to ministers could cause them to be dishonest to the IRS!!!  

 

As you may know, it is already tax time and now I'm preparing for my tax at the last minutes.    Do you think I am honest?   Do you think I can report my income correctly?   I'm sorry I don't need your answer but I regard this Tax Preparation shall be a true test for my true honesty!!! 

0 Comments

Wed

06

Apr

2016

It's time for gardening!

Algae can be good for keeping water clean.  However I realized they can grow too much after their finding soil in the water.  Then they take nutrition of soil and eventually water, too.  Recently I found no water in the pond which made me decide to remove all algae.  

 

As you know, it can be an easy job if you throw away everything.  However, there are some plants and fish in the pond.  So taking them out actually took time and this gave me a good opportunity to transplant and propagate some water lilies. 

 

Yes, it's time for gardening.  I am now very happy to have time for gardening after busy months of January, February and March.

First I cleaned the pond. 

Next, I newly made soil for lotus by mixing three kinds of soil.  First, I put fluffy soil and then added heavy soil and water.  After mixing them well, I added some local soil.

Then I placed lotus roots near the tub-wall so that they can find more space and grow well. 

Last, I put Black Cinders over the soil so that light soil won't float in the water.  I made three sets for the three kinds of lotus.  Then I did some more propagations of the water lilies.

This yellow water lily was a gift from my Dharma friend, Thich Trithien and I divided into 6 plants and many more white lilies.   I thought I was so greedy after looking at all propagations.  But this is also true......because I have such a strong desire to grow more water lily, I can share plants with more friends.

 

This is like a saying..."kill two birds with one stone."  Not only I but aslo members and visitors here can enjoy flowers.  Plus, I can enjoy taking photos of beauty of the flowers. 

 

The following water plants are my collections here at Koloa Jodo Mission.

This is my favorite water lily called "Dauben."  Dauben was named after French Hybridizer, Daubeny in 1863.  I had a gift of dauben from Mrs. Lilian Akagi in 2008.

I just found out the name of this night blooming water lily was "Lotus."   Yes, it is "water lily" called "Lotus."    Isn't it confusing?

This is a peach pink flower called "Colorado."    

"Islamorada" was named after an island in Florida.  Hybridizer was Florida Aquatic Nurseries in 1999. 

Nymphaea Colorata. I bought it at HomeDepot in 2009.

I think this is called "Ruby."

I think this is called "Eldorado" or "City of Gold."  Hybridizer is Martin E. Randig in 1963. 

This is called "Director George T. Moore."   Huge and gorgeous flower, hybridized by George H. Pring. 

I'm not sure about this name but it may be called "Pink Pearl."   It grew from the seed which I bought from ebay.   It said "Mixed seeds."

This was my very favorite American Lotus from Mrs. Akagi.  I was so moved to see this flower after growing several years in 2014.

1 Comments

Mon

04

Apr

2016

Capsule Hotel

Again this morning, I fell asleep in the temple office while I didn't intend to sleep here.  This happened three times already in this month.

The reason is very simple.  I have many things I want to do and I simply don't want to use time for sleeping.  However I definitely need rest, too.   Especially at night, my body is tired after going around.  This is how I fall asleep in the office.  While facing to my computer at night, I guess my body or brain force me to sleep.  

 

That is why I have no trouble sleeping on the floor, in the sofa, in the car or in the tent or in the airplane.   So when I go to Japan by myself, I always look for cheaper hotel because I know that's much much better than my office chair!

 

Interestingly in Japan, there are various types of hotel and one of the most fun hotel I've ever stayed was a Capsule Hotel!!!  Because this is for men only, I felt like this was like man-cave.

 

The good things about Capsule Hotel are,

 

1. Cheap

2. Close to the Station

3. Large public Bath and Sauna for all night.

4.  Free movies on demand in the room, I mean "capsule".

 

Also they have optional services such as massage and scrubbing at the bath room.

 

Bad things about this hotel may be;

 

1. No natural sunlight.

2. You cannot bring your baggage to your capsule.

3. Little privacy...just a thin curtain and no lock.

4.  While staying at hotel, everybody has to wear weird Pajama!

 

Well let me share some more photos of Capsule hotel.

 

1. At the time of check in, you'll get a key for your locker space which is not big.  Of course you can leave your suitcase at the front desk for free.

Change clothes to the weird pajama.  It's funny....everybody wear this clothes.   But good to have no lady here!

This is a Key for the locker and ID bar code.   You can leave valuable in the locker or safe at the front desk.  With this ID, you don't need to carry money with you.   You can have some food at restaurant with this ID and I was able to buy drink from vending machine with this ID.

At the time of checkout, you pay what you bought. 

Shampoo, Rinse, Tooth brush and paste, shaver, dryer, hair gel, lotion are all equipped with bathroom.

1 Comments

Sun

03

Apr

2016

One Long Busy Day

It was truly a long day since I fell asleep after watching Merrie Monarch 12:00 a.m.

4:40 a.m.  Started preparation for Sushi plate.

5:40 a.m.  Morning service

Done @8:30 a.m. and uploaded photos to my facebook.

Arrived at Kauai Soto Zen temple @9:05 a.m.

Helped cleaning and setting up chairs for Hanamatsuri Service

Delivered Sushi at 10:00 a.m.

Started making Green Tea Chiffon Cake @12:30 p.m.

Uploaded photos to my facebook.

Started Lawn mower 1:50 p.m. -4:00 p.m.

Went to stream to get some fish for Water lily at 4:20 p.m.

Birthday Party for Aunty Mabel at 6:00p.m. -8:00 p.m.

Went home to watch Merrie Monarch just before Kauai started.... till 1:00 a.m.!  I thought Kauai was da best...but it was also true....all Halaus were extremely so good.  

0 Comments

Wed

23

Mar

2016

Softness can beat the strong

What is strength in architecture?  As Japan had 3.11 Earthquakes and Tsunami in 2011, a world-famous architect, Dr. Kengo Kuma saw lots of strong buildings destroyed by nature so easily.  How can we build stronger buildings?  How can we get along with nature?  And What is real strongeness?    

His answer was quite interesting.   Essence of being strong is nothing but softness and flexibility.  Being flexible and soft is a key to strong buildings.  Then he started to explain his architectures, motives and structures of the buildings in the UCLA A. UD Lecture which is available in the link above.

Kuma-san's lecture was so inspiring and informational which give us various viewpoints to see and accept nature.  

This also reminded me the saying of "Softness can beat the strong (hardness)" which is one of the concepts of Judo.  

As you know, Judo is one of the popular martial arts to pursue the strength in both body and mind.   Yes, it is a symbol of strongness, but the meaning of Judo is "The Way of Softness"  which may be a characteristic of Japanese culture, too.   In a sense, Kuma-san talked about this theme according to his designed buildings and experiences.

Last but not least, I thank you Mo-san for sharing this wonderful video of Kuma-san with me!  It was more than interesting!  And I want to add a link to Japanese video which could benefit Japanese speaking friends.

 

強さとは何か?いかに強固な建築物をつくることができるのか?大震災で強固と思われていた建物が破壊され流されていく映像をみて、世界的な建築家、隈研吾さんが目指したのは、柔らかさ、そして自然のフレームとしての建築物でした。隈さんはいいます。強さとは、言い換えれば、いかに柔らかくそして柔軟性(Flexibility)に富むものであるのか、と。思うに、精神的な強さも同じです。頑固はダメです。いかに、多様な視点をもって、多様な現実を受け止めれられうのか?いかに柔軟にものごとを考えられるのか?

英語でのレクチャーでしたが、多角的な示唆に富む、目から鱗の動画でした。

 

0 Comments

Tue

22

Mar

2016

Peace from here

I went to Poipu Beach in order to take photos of Sunset on the equinox day. Then I happened to see two Hawaiian Monk Seals swimming at the beach.

 

Lucky! Are they enjoying wrestling? or just playing? or mating? As I started to follow them, I completely forgot about sunset.  Later I found sun was gone already and thought what a peaceful evening I spent.....


On the other hand, the world experienced great sorrow again since terrible terrorist attacks took so many innocent lives. What can we do for the world peace?

 

I know it's difficult but peace has to be started from myself. I'd like to dispatch my prayer of "peace" from here, paradise of Kaua'i.

 

ポイプビーチへ春分の日没を撮りに行ったところ、めずらしく2頭のハワイアン・モンク・あざらしが泳いでいました。ラッキー♪

 

これってレスリング?じゃれ合い?喧嘩?それとも△▽〇?見えそうでよく見えないアザラシたちを追いかけること50分、、、気づいたら、日がとっくに落ちていました(苦笑)。

 

一方、世界はまたテロの悲劇に悲しんでいます。世界平和のために私たちは一体何ができるでしょうか?


平和はまず自分から、、、。このような時だからこそ、楽園の魅力、そして平和への祈りをカウアイから発信したいと思いました。

 

0 Comments

Sat

19

Mar

2016

Pushing & Knocking

Working on one's composition over again and again in order to improve the wording is written as "推敲" in Chinese Character ("Suiko" in Japanese.)   "Suiko(推敲)” literally means "pushing and knocking" which came from the story of Jia Dao (賈島 779-843). 

 

During the Tang Dynasty(618-690, 705-907), there was a man named Jia Dao who used to be a monk and poet, went to the capital city (Luoyang) to take an imperial examination.

One of the significant subjects of this examination was a poem.  So Jia Dao was always thinking about poems. 

 

One day as he rode upon a donkey through the city streets, he had a new poem in his mind. A portion of the poem came in his mind was;


"A bird sits on the tree branch near a pond,
A monk knocks on the gate under the moonlight"

As soon as he got these sentences, he started to wonder if another word "push" might be better than "knock" in his poem.

Riding upon a donkey, he imagined a monk who did both pushing and knocking.   But it was hard for him to decide a word.  Soon he became lost in his poem and didn't see Mayor's procession coming toward him.  As a result of absorbing in making a poet, Jia Dao's donkey went straight inside a Mayor's procession.  Then he was caught by Mayor's guards immediately, but he was still thinking about wording of this poem whether pushing or knocking.  Jia Dao apologized and explained his poetic dilemma.

The mayor, Han Yu, a scholar and a well-known poet, happened to hear Jia Dao's poem and dilemma.   He got off his horse and advised,  "I think knock is better.  The sound of knock will match with the scenery under the moon."  Then Jia Dao was invited to join in Mayor's procession by Han Yu.  They say they enjoyed talking about their poems and love of poetry.

 

From this story, working on one's composition over again and again is written as "推敲(Suiko)" meaning "pushing and knocking."

 

The reason why I introduced this story was because I had hard time to decide a title of new Youtube channel.  Just like Jia Dao experienced a poetic dilemma to decide a word, I took much time to decide a title which can be shared with you later!

 

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Wed

16

Mar

2016

Pleasure of Making Efforts!?

"Ewwww!"

 

My wife and children always tell me "Ew!" whenever they see my chair  at the temple office.

 

I'm terribly sorry if you felt it was "ewww", too.

 

It's worn-out because I've spent tremendously much time sitting here for more than 10 years!  Not only day-time but also night-time, too, I prefer to sit here to do some computer hoby(work) and sometimes at night, I fall asleep and wake up in the early morning here.  That's why it is now so worn-out and my family don't come close to this chair. 

 

It was true, in the past, there was a moment that I thought I should throw this chair away.   I thought I used enough.  However, some years ago, I found a way to use cushions and I had no problem sitting here.  The chair was actually fine.   It just didn't look good.   That's why I keep using this with cushions!

On Black Friday, in 2014, I bought a new chair at Wal Mart because it was a good deal!  So I could throw away an old chair and could use a new one anytime.  

 

But now I feel a great pleasure to update a record of using this old chair!  How many more years I could be patient with chair?   This feeling may be same? just like an athlete try to improve one's own record every moment.  I know this is such a tiny effort....but I believe this kind of effort can contribute eco on Earth!

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Sat

12

Mar

2016

I will survive

At first I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
Without you by my side

But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

(from my favorite song, I will survive)

 

What a timing!  As soon as I came back from Japan, my wife went on a business trip to Japan in order to participate in the FOODEX.  This was her first business trip and her first trip by herself without children.

 

I counted numbers of our past trips so far.

First, together with my family, I went to Japan 3 times and California 3 times since our first child was born.

Then, I had business trip to Japan 14 times, Los Angeles 4 times, Brazil one time while my wife were staying here at Koloa with children.

On the other hand, my wife with children went to Japan 6 times while I was staying here by myself.

 

This means she had been always with children and I had never experienced staying here with my children for more than a day. 

 

That's why.....when I first heard she wanted to have a business trip to Japan, I was afraid. 

 

Then I was petrified......

 

I kept thinking my children and I couldn't live without my wife.

 

But then I remember I spent so many days and nights

doing housework...

And I remember I grew strong

And I remember I learned how to get along with my children.

 

Today is actually 6th day since she left.  But I realized I had no problem at all without my wife.  This is just like my parody of the song...because I have done housework for one year, I found myself doing a good housework job with my children. 

 

My conclusion....

I think I will survive!

 

But of course, I will welcome my wife back here at Koloa!

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Fri

11

Mar

2016

2016 Message on March 11

Five years ago on March 11, 2011 at 14:46 (March 10 @19:46 in Hawaii), the megathrust earthquake happened.  Immediately after this caused Tsunami and Nearly 20,000 people died and 6,000 people got injured.  45,700 buildings were destroyed and lots of people are still having hard times for living.

 

Five years have passed.  What can I do from Hawaii?  And what can I teach my children? 

 

This year, I did something different.  I prepared dinner which my children loved to eat; Poke, Steak, Caesar Salada, Jell-o and ice-cream.  Before "Itadakimasu", I asked them "what is today?" "What is this occasion?"  They imagined of some kind of celebrations but of course, not.   They got an answer when I gave them a hint, "3.11."  I started a short sermon to my children.

 

"Yes, today is a memorial day when many people died by the natural disaster.  Of course, in the past in the world, there were many more incidents to remember....tremendously many people died.  But I want you to remember this 3.11 as a reminder of the tragedy could happen anytime.  Happiness can become easily "unhappiness."  We can easily lose what we have.  That happened five years ago.

 

Look at all the good food which you love!  Don't you think you are happy?  Many people died of tsunami and many people couldn't eat good food.  So I want you to be grateful for this moment and I want you to feel how happy you are to have your parents, house, school, friends and good food today.  You must be happy right?   OK. That's all I want you to know today.  Namu Amida Butsu.  Itadakimasu!"

 

It is my belief to realize "my" happiness is the way to help other people.  Without my happiness, how can I offer kindness to others?  Without my happiness, how can I help other people?   So I wanted my children to spend happy time with happy meal together.

 

After dinner at 7:46p.m., we had a livestreaming memorial service.  This service is of course for the victims of the disasters, but true purpose of having this service is for myself to realize happiness that I can have a peaceful service today at peaceful environment at Koloa.   Yes, I can clearly say I am happy.  And because I am happy, I want to be kind to others and be helpful for others.

 

Namu Amida Butsu

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Wed

09

Mar

2016

Sojiji Temple

On the last day, before leaving Haneda, I went to Tsurumi district of Yokohama City where I spent four years at my relative's temple while attending a college.  I was planning to visit my relatives to say hello but I happened to see a sign of Sojiji Temple which is one of two main Head-Temples of Soto Zen Buddhist Sect.  

 

When I was a student, I had no interest in visiting Zen Temples.  So I never tried to visit Sojiji Temple while living close in the same district of Tsurumi.  However, after moving to Hawaii, I came to like visiting various Buddhist temples.  Therefore, I couldn't resist going to Sojiji temple as soon as I saw the sign!  This, of course,  made me feel sorry for my relatives but soon I became positive again. I thought...ok...my relatives can come to Hawaii to see me but Sojiji temple cannot come to see me.  This is how I changed my mind and went to the Soto Zen Temple for my first time.

Sojiji Temple is close to JR Tsurumi Station West Exit. 5 minutes walk or 780 yen by taxi.   As soon as I saw series of magnificent buildings, I thought I was lucky to see the sign which made me come.  Then I saw something I never expected in March.

On the temple ground, various colorful trees welcomed me.  It was Sakura!   This type of Sakura blossoms earlier than regular Sakura and  is generally called "Kanzakura" which literally means "Kan(cold)Zakura(cherry)."  When I saw Sakura trees at Zojoji, they were never ready to bloom but "Kanzakura" could bloom in winter from January.  Sakura in the 2nd & 3rd photo above has many names and widely grown as an ornamental tree.   In Japanese, it is called "Hikanzakura (Red-cold-cherry)" or "Kanhizakura (Cold-red-cherry)" or "Hizakura (Red Cherry) or sometimes called "Ganjitsu-zakura (New Year's Day Cherry)" since it could bloom in the New Year's Day.  In English, it is widely known as Taiwan cherry, Formosan cherry, or bellflower cherry, according to Wikipedia.

(I think) this is called Okamezakura.  Okamezakura was created by a British cherry-peony Ingram, after mixing Hikanzakura and Mame-zakura (I think next picture is mamezakura.)

They say there are over 600 kinds of Sakura.  So it's hard to tell a name. 

This building is called "Koushakudai" which literally means "the world of incense prevail."  There is a huge temple office and a gift shop inside the building.  They have one hour-temple-tour four times a day; 10:00 11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00.  Suggested donation for the tour is 400yen/person.   Walking around temple ground is of course free!  I came to this office after visiting all the other buildings but I should have visited this first.  I missed a temple tour and a few important general information about this temple!

This building is called "Butsu-den" meaning "a Buddha Hall."  As is often the case with Soto Zen Temple, main Buddha image of the hall is Shakyamuni Buddha, accompanied by Mahākāśyapa and Ananda who are principle desciples of the Buddha.

This "Daisodo(Big founder Hall)" is the biggest building among Sojiji temple.  Daiso literally means "a big founder" which indicates a founder of this temple, Keizan Jokin (1268–1325)  and a founder of Japanese Soto Zen, Dogen.  To commemorate these two founders and other high patricahs, Daisodo was built in 1962.   This hall is known as Senjoji or a 1,000 tatami mat space.

This huge building is called "Sansho-kaku" meaning "Three pine trees Shrine."   This is a social hall and retreat center where members and guests can stay.

Taihokan.  This building was originally located in the Owari-Tokugawa Mansion at Sendagaya, Tokyo.  The entire building was moved here in 1957.  This is a guest house.

Hyaken-rouka or Corridor which is 152 meters long.

General Information:

Website: http://sojiji.jp/index.html

Gate Open Every Day

Office Hour (Koushakudai): 10:00-16:30

Temple Tour: 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00

Reservation is recommended. (045-581-6021)

Zazen-kai in English.

Virtual Visitation (street View):  

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Wed

09

Mar

2016

Child for Good and All

While staying in Japan, I had one day and a half to spend my free time.  So I was hoping to go sightseeing for Nikko.  However, my parents came to Tokyo to see me and asked me to come to visit my father's cousin in the hospital.  Honestly speaking, I didn't want to visit hospital while spending my free time.  Visiting hospital sounded like doing my job in Japan, too.  I simply wanted to spend time at leisure.  However, my father already made a reservation for lunch to meet and then trying to take me to the hospital.

 

All of sudden, I remembered this must be something I was always doing to my children.  Whether they liked it or not, I have taken them to the hospital or nursing home.  I thought I got used to be a father but I realized I am a child forever in front of my parents. I changed my mind and went to the hospital with them.

 

Visiting my father's cousin in the hospital was shocking.  Auntie looked completely different from what I saw her last Summer.  She became so skinny and her hair was all gone.  It was obvious she was not good. I lost my words.  If I were badly sick, what can I do?  What kind of words am I glad to hear?  I couldn't get words but just put my hands together in gassho and recited Nenbutsu.  

 

This was the best I could do.  At the same time, I completely forgot my plan to go sightseeing for Nikko.  I didn't have any regret I couldn't go there.  Rather I became very thankful for having time together with my parents.  Luckily, they are living without having major problems.

 

I was able to treasure some time together with them at Zojoji Temple since I realized this might be the last time.  And I thought they were thinking in the same way.   When we departed at Daimon Station, my mother gave me some Omiyage from Niigata.  I was surprised they were heavy.   She held this heavy things so that I didn't need to carry heavy thing till the last moment of departing.  Also she gave me Omamori which she bought at Zojoji Temple.  Receiving mother's love, I almost cried in the city of Tokyo but I didn't.  I just renewed my vow to transmit what I've received from my parents to my children and more.

 

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Tue

08

Mar

2016

Zojoji Temple

While staying in Tokyo, I visited Zojoji Temple two times.  Of course, Zojoji Temple is one of our Jodo Shu Head Temples (Daihonzan) and in the same temple property, there is Jodoshu Headquarters Tokyo Office where I participated in the conference.   Surrounded by the tall buildings including Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple is like oasis in the metropolis of Tokyo.

 

Zojoji temple was founded by Yuyo Shoso, known as 8th patriach of Jodoshu in 1393.  His master, Shogei established current ordination program "Goju Soden."   Both Shogei and Shoso laid the foundation of Zojoji Temple, receiving support and sponsorship from governors of the Kanto area.

 

In 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu was forced to move to Kanto by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  Ieyasu gained more lands but had to move far from Kyoto which was capital city in Japan for a long time.  As he needed to develop and expand a Edo Castle,  later, Tokugawa Ieyasu had the temple moved, first to Hibiya, then in 1598 to its present location.

 

According to the history of Zojoji, after the start of the Edo Period when the Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan, Zojoji became the family temple of the Tokugawa family and an unparalleled grand cathedral was built.

 

Zojoji also served as an administrative center to govern the religious studies and activities of Jodo shu. In those days, its precincts covered an area of 826,000 square meters which also contained 48 smaller attached temples and about 150 grammar schools. Moreover, as many as 3,000 priests and novices always resided here as students.

 

Unfortunately, first, its gorgeous main cathedral was burned as a result of anti-Buddhist movement.  Then rest of buildings were also burned down by air raids during World War II.  Therefore most structures in Zojoji temple today are new buildings after the war.  However,

magnificent buildings of the temple could easily take visitors' breath away.  Standing in front of Amida Buddha in the main cathedral,  I regained my pride to belong to Jodoshu which had such an amazing temple.

 

If you will stay in Tokyo, I would like to recommend you to visit both Zojoji and Tokyo Tower together since they are so close within 5-10 minutes-walk.

 

Highlight of visitation is as follows;

Main Temple Gate called "San-mon" was built in 1622.  It is the oldest building which survived from air raids during war.   "San-mon" is usually written as "山門" meaning "Mountain Gate."  However, "Sanmon" at Zojoji Temple is written as "三門” meaning "Three gates."  It is an abbreviation of "San-Gedatsu-mon" which means a gate (mon) for getting delivered (gedatsu) from three (san) poisons of human being- greed, anger and ignorance.  So the purpose of gate is not only the way to Hondo but also the way to be free from poisons.  It has been said if you go through this gate, you'll naturally take three poisons away!

The vermilion-lacquered gate is a two-story structure. Enshrined in the upper story are image of Shakyamuni Buddha, Samantabhadra and Manjusri bodhisattvas, and the sixteen arhat disciples of the Buddha, which were created by Buddhist image sculptors of Kyoto when Zojoji was built.

Right after passing the gate, you'll see a huge pine tree.  This Himalayan Cedar was called "Grant-Matsu (Pine)" since this was planted by General Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth President of the United States when he visited Zojoji Temple as a national guest in 1879.

A main cathedral or main worship hall is called "Daiden" meaning "a Big Hall."   The main Buddha image is our Amida Buddha.  Together with Tokyo Tower, Daiden looks most beautiful in the morning light.  Also this Daiden with Tokyo Tower was filmed in  A 2013 film, The Wolverine.  Some action scenes were shot here at Zojoji Temple.

Statue of Honen Shonin (1133-1212), Founder of Jodoshu.

Statue of Master Shandao or Zendo Daishi (613-681), a Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Master.

This smaller temple building next to Daiden is called "Ankoku-den."  The name "Ankoku" came from Tokugawa Ieyasu's Buddhist name and his main Buddha image of Amida Buddha has been placed to be worshiped here.  They say Ieyasu always carried this Buddha image with him, recited Nenbutsu and won the battles.   Also because the color of this statue was black, it became so popular known as "Kuro-Honzon (Balck Main Buddha Image)."  

Many Omamori or Good luck charms are available inside this Ankokuden.  Also you may ask blessing service in the morning from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 noon. 

These Jizo Bodhisattva statues are called "Kosodate Shofuku Jizo." Wishing for good health and happiness of children, over 1300 Jizo Bodhisattva statues has been dedicated.  The numbers are increasing because anybody can sponsor this dedication of Jizo Statue.

Served as one of family temples of Tokugawa Shogunate, bodies of six Shogun and their wives have been placed in the huge tombs. 

General Information:

Office Hour: 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Morning Service @6:00 a.m. Every Day

Noon Service with Offering of Meal @11:30 a.m. Every Day

Sunday Sermon @9:00 a.m.  Every Sunday

Betsuji Special Nenbutsu @18:30  Every 24th Day of the Month

 

From JR Hamamatsucho......10 Minutes Walk

From Toei Mita Line Onarimon Station.....3 Minutes Walk

From Toei Asakusa Line Daimon Station...5 Minutes Walk

 

For more information, please visit Zojoji Temple Official Website.

 

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Mon

07

Mar

2016

Nothing to Gain and Nothing to Lose

Although my health condition was not good in Japan, I achieved almost all my intended objectives such as attending Jodoshu Ministry Conference, meeting my parents and relatives, buying some temple equipment, supplies, books, staying at Internet Comic Cafe and eating my favorite Ramen! 

 

Also I had a surprise treat by our former minister Rev. Kodo Tanaka and Senseis from the Former Oversea Ministers' Association.  Rev. Tanaka hosted dinner two times at one of the fine restaurants in Tokyo.  There were actually more surprises (which I am thinking to write it later) but the most important thing was I was able to return home at Koloa safely on Saturday, March 5.

 

It took 9 hours 40 minutes from Honolulu to Haneda, Tokyo.  But on the way back here, it took only 6 hours 20 minutes from Haneda to Honolulu.  This was the fastest flight time I've ever experienced.  

 

The lady sitting next to me was so impressed by this fast flight time and told me, "What a difference! We got extra three hours!" 

 

At that moment, I agreed to her.  But soon, I had second thoughts about this gain.  I realized this gain was loss of my sleeping time!  Because it didn't take longer for the flight, my sleeping time became shorter.  We tend to think "gain and loss" about time.  However, time keeps just going on and on forever.  There is actually nothing to lose and nothing to gain about time.  Therefore, to gain extra time is just illusion.  It must mean to lose extra time for another thing to do.    Again, nothing to gain and nothing to lose....I thought that's the essence of time.

 

By the way, on the way back to Honolulu, I really enjoyed scenery of Kaua'i from the above.   The airplane passed Hanalei and Kapaa Town! It was my first time to see lots of houses at Kapaa from the above. 

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Thu

03

Mar

2016

Internet Comic Cafe

Today, I have another confession....... that I have a lover in Japan, too. I felt sorry for my family who wanted to go to Japan with me but again, I came here to Tokyo by myself in order to attend Jodoshu Ministry Conference.  Soon after my arrival at Haneda, I went to see my lover.

 

Here is a picture of my lover!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my lover in Japan.  She is called Shoyu-Tonkotsu Ramen at Yokohama Iekei Ramen.   Ive loved this ramen ever since I started to eat back in 1991.   This is the ramen I could eat every meal!  So I am hoping I could eat this ramen a few times more before I go back to Japan today.

By the way, my tiny dream to stay at Internet Comic Cafe came true this time and I uploaded my blog yesterday from here at the cafe called Mankitsu Manboo!    It cost about $2 for 30 minutes, but there is a big discount for the user for all night long.  It costs about $15 for 7 hours.

 

There is a reclining seat and PC with wifi connection.  And there are not only so many kinds of comics (manga) but also a shower room and small safe, and refreshments table in the front area.  Reclining seat is just like a First Class Seat in the airplane.  I could sleep no problem.

Free drink for all day long! There are actually many kinds of drinks there. 

They sell white shirts, socks, and underwears,too.   So lots of business men use this internet cafe if they drank late and missed to catch a train.  

 

Once again, this is only $15 for one night and I did not need to bring my PC to Japan because I was planning to use this cafe!!!

 

Staying good hotel in Japan is not the only to enjoy Japan, I hope I can introduce a special way to know more about Japan!

By the way, I am uploading this blog here from another internet comic cafe on the way to Zojoji Temple!  This is a mat type room.  Ok. I am going to the Conference now.  Aloha!

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Wed

02

Mar

2016

My Lover in Honolulu

Today I have a big confession to make.  Although I am a minister, but I truly realize I am a stupid human being who have a lover in Honolulu.

 

It was summer in 2002 when I first met her.  It was my first sight love and immediately I fell in love.  Since then whenever I went to Oahu, I always went to see her.  I don't know how many times I went.   The other day, too,  I went to see her after the workshop.   I took a late flight and after sending other ministers to the airport, I went back to the city and meet.

 

I'm sorry......I am a such a bakatare bonpu minister.  Here is my lover in the bigger picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my lover, Kotteri Ramen at Tenka Ippin!!!!  Yes, she is my best lover=ramen, ever in Hawaii.

 

Then you might wonder who is a beautiful lady in the photo with me?   I am sorry she is not my lover of course, but a TV talent, Mayumi-san of the Ultimate Japan (OC16).

 

I met her over 13 years ago since they opened a Ramen store in Waikiki.  Of course, I am one of their customers but because I often went, she remembered me.

 

Last time I met her was before they moved the store to Kapahulu, so it must be 9 years ago.  Since then, I saw her only in the TV and never seen her at the store.  But the other day, I was soooooo surprised to see Mayumi San was working at Tenka Ippin!   Then I mentioned I saw her in the TV and to my surprise, she remembered me!!! I was so glad that I asked her to take a photo with me.  Mahalo Mayumi-san!

 

The Tenka Ippin Ramen is my very best food for me.  That's why I want to call it my lover.  Now back to my confession.....don't you think I am bakatare because I am so attached to Ramen!

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Mon

29

Feb

2016

Nehan-zu (Picture of Parinirvana)

A picture of passing of Shkayamuni Buddha is called Nehan-zu in Japanese.  As a custom of Nirvana Day Service in Japan, most of the Buddhist temples exhibit this kind of scroll in February.  Here at Koloa Jodo Mission, we observed this service with this Nehan-zu on February 28.

 

After seeing this restored scroll, I was very grateful to my father who sponsored this restoration.  At first, I was not certain if I should fix this scroll.  So I asked my childhood friend who is a professional paper-hanger to estimate the cost, when I went to Japan.  If possible, I wanted him to fix only upper part of the scroll which I thought not so expensive.  But he told me estimate was about $2,500.  Wow...this was way over my budget.  Then I asked my father to find a place to fix it.  After all, he asked a member of my home temple for restoration.  There was a great discount but it cost...still over $1,000.  Then my father donated this repairing.   Now, I think whether restoration was worth or not should be up to the minister.   By making the most use of the picture, it will become more and more valuable and I can call it "a good investment."

 

They say Japanese temples are rich.  But that's not so true.  Temples just need lots of money because every Buddhist tools, decorations, adornments and even a monk's cloths and robes are so expensive.  This restored picture scroll is one of the examples.  In order to maintain a tradition, it surely cost a lot.  

 

It is so true...beautiful and solemn Buddhist services are supported by the expensive things.   But if they are too expensive, we need to return to the starting point to think about what people really want? 

 

Shakyamuni Buddha expressed it in a very simple way,  "By birth, one is not an outcast, by birth one is not a Brahmin; by action one is an outcast, and by action one a Brahmin." (Sutta Nipata)

 

So Buddha's heart can be rephrased like this, " By robe,  one is not a high priest, by action one can be high or low."  or "By what temple has, one is not a good temple, by what temple does can be a good temple or bad.

 

 

0 Comments

Mon

29

Feb

2016

Success

 

When I was assigned to Koloa Jodo Mission in 1999, there were more active Nisei members.   Because they worked so hard, I had almost nothing to do for them and I didn't have any special talent either, except chanting sutras.  All I could do for them was, I thought, maybe dishwashing.  So I tried to do dishwash many times but they never let me to do.  They told me, "Sensei, sit down and relax.  That's our job."  I cannot forget their kind voices and faces, dedications and kindness. 

 

16 years have passed by here on Kauai.  Lately at our New Year's Party at Koloa, I found myself doing dishwashing very naturally. Nobody told me not to do dishwashing anymore!   Rather I had more things to do and responsibilities.  Without knowing it, I've become such a hard worker and gotten a talent of making Sushi and cake.  I'm now very proud I am always sharing Sushi to our members, friends and visitors.  And this is all thanks to Jodo Mission, members and friends.

 

Reflecting upon my past 16 years, I'm so very grateful for knowing Nisei members and some Issei.  Their dedications was incredible.  Many of them were not young.  They could be relaxed more at home.  But I saw they spent 100% energy and much time to temple.   Without knowing their sincerity and efforts, I couldn't have been a hard worker.  It is sad, one by one, they passed away or got to be older and older.  But this fact made me naturally take over their jobs.  At the same time, thanks to the temple which couldn't pay me enough, I was able to work outside at Sushi bar, Movies' Extra (I've been a SAG member ),  and tour guide, too.   As a result of doing some part time jobs and more temple jobs, I got "experiences" that cannot be bought.

 

Recently, I really enjoyed reading biographies and essays of some successful Japanese business men such as Konosuke Matsushita, Soichiro Honda and Akio Morita.  They were so interesting but among them, I was so touched by words by Mr. Konosuke Matsushita who founded Panasonic.  Mr. Matsushita mentioned three things for his success in making a world wide known company when he was asked about a secret of success.   He pointed out three things;  He made a success, because

 

1, He was poor, 2. He didn't go to school, 3. He was physically weak and sickly.

 

These are all negative factors of the life and he experienced all and hardship starting from his first job when he was 9, separating from his mother.   However, he understood these negative experiences as positive ones.   Because he was poor, he wished to be wealthy.  Because he didn't go to school, he read many books.  Because he was sick, he was able to ask people for help naturally.  As a result of asking his men to do, many of them became responsible men which made a stronger company.

 

 Of course, "luck" in his life, was very important and he said people cannot do anything about luck.   And he believe in "luck."  Indeed, he experienced his father's bankruptcy, a great depression, and world wars. Nevertheless, he believed he was always lucky.  That's, I understand, a very secret of his success.

 

After thinking about his secrets of success, I thought of plantation workers and their descendants who could be you in Hawaii.  Many of them were poor and didn't go to school.  However, just like Mr. Matsushita overcame the hardship,  many people got "success" thanks to the hard experiences.  

 

 In a sense, we living in Hawaii,  are all successful people, because of the fact living in the place where many people in the world are dreaming to live!!!    Though I'm not monetary rich, but I can definitely call myself  a successful man who 've lived in the paradise for 16 years!

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Sun

28

Feb

2016

Night Blooming Water Lily (2)

It was interesting that night blooming water lily didn't show me full opening of the flower inside a temple.  It started to open around 7:00 p.m. but after a while, it completely stopped opening at 8:20 p.m. I didn't realize this....while doing a time-lapse shooting.  But when I tried to make a video, I found so many same pictures after 8:30 p.m.

I wasted using shutter nearly 2000 times, which is of course, not good for camera itself. 

 

I guessed the reason why it didn't fully open, was because it was too bright for the water lily.  You know, this is a night blooming flower, so it may be confused to see the light during night!  "Is it a day or night?"
I imagined water lily concluded this was back to daytime!  That's why it stopped opening flower!

 

 

But I was wrong!!!  On the next day, which was yesterday, I did live stream an evening service together with Night blooming water lily!

 

Then it showed me full opening!

 

By the way, this morning at 10:30 a.m., I do have another service of Nirvana day.   I am hoping....participants can enjoy watching this beautiful white flower since the flower closes around 1:00 p.m.

 

O.K....now it's time to make Sushi!   I'm expecting to welcome two guests here at Koloa Jodo Mission today!   One is from Canada and another is from Michigan!

 

Do you think they'd come?

 

Let's see this livestreaming video.   Alooha and have a good day!

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Sat

27

Feb

2016

Balance of Loss and Gain

Lately, there was a family who asked me if they could return Ihai or memorial tablet to the temple because the person who kept it in the house passed away.  The deceased was a Nisei lady who was not a Buddhist, but she kept it since this was treasured by her parents.  I think this is a typical tendency here for Nisei to keep what parents treasured.  So there have been many Nisei who converted their religion from Buddhism to Christianity, but they tend to keep Butsudan and ask me to have memorial services from time to time.

 

Now, many of Nisei passed away or they are very old. Then I now see a new trend when non-Buddhist Nisei passed away, most of them don't care about Butsudan or Ihai at all.  That's why Buddhist temples receive more and more Ihai and Butsudan.   

Honestly speaking, I didn't like to receive old Butsudan because if they returned Butsudan or Ihai, the connections with temple in association with information would be lost forever.  Also I feel "Mottainai" for Butsudan which can be treasured for many more years to come.   So whenever I had a chance to talk to the family, I asked them to consider keeping Ihai.   I know it's hard to change their mind but if they understand "Ihai" can be their family "ID", I also knew they could keep it.   

Recently I'm very glad family changed mind to keep Inner Ihai which had information on their ancestors.  In the past, I felt very sad about their returning of Ihai and Butsudan.  But this time, I experienced far from sad.  Rather I graciously received an empty Ihai, image of Buddha and donation, since I now know there are some new Buddhists who wished to have Butsudan at home!  

 

Lately, I was able to send Old Butsudan which were abandoned by the families here, to my Dharma friends in Georgia, North Carolina and Thailand!  As soon as I sent them, they all sent me donation in addition to the shipping cost through paypal.  And very lately, I received a gift from Thailand!

Thank you, Dharma friends, for their generosity.  At the same time I want to thank those who brought Ihai and Butsudan here.  It is my greatest joy to see a good balance of loss and gain.  Isn't it amazing their loss of Butsudan here has become gain for the international Buddhists.   I'll be happy if I can continue to assist more Buddhists. 

 

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Fri

26

Feb

2016

Night Blooming Water Lily

Under the full moon, night blooming water lily opened its flower around 8:00p.m.
Under the full moon, night blooming water lily opened its flower around 8:00p.m.
The flower kept opening all night long and........
The flower kept opening all night long and........
morning, too!!!  This is such a hard worker...... just like me.  (Just kidding!?)
morning, too!!! This is such a hard worker...... just like me. (Just kidding!?)
Then it closed its flower around 2:00 p.m.
Then it closed its flower around 2:00 p.m.

 

Water lily is called "Suiren" in Japanese and ”睡蓮”in Chinese, which literally mean "sleeping lotus."   Just like this naming, water lily seems to like sleeping.  Generally, it starts opening flower in the late morning.  Then it starts closing flower in the early evening.  

 

Usually water lily sleeps for a long time like 10 to 16 hours.  However, I just realized this night blooming water lily here was such a hard worker.  It started opening around 7:00 p.m. and kept opening all night and morning.  Then it closed its flower around 2:00 p.m.  It sleep for only 6 hours and then it repeats opening again a few more times.

 

All of sudden, I had a good idea!!! Just like a dragon fruit flower, this may be an interesting offering to Buddha during night! 

Also I had another good idea which I hope to show you tonight through my youtube channel!

 

P.S.

By the way, lotus and water lily are different.  Water lily doesn't have a seed pod and "no can eat its pod and root."

 

The followings are my past articles about lotus and water lily.

I hope you'd enjoy it. 

 

Life Cycle of the Lotus Flower-Trivia

I see a Lotus

American Lotus

Sowing Seeds

Bigger Mistake, Bigger Discovery

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Thu

25

Feb

2016

A Bitter Smile!?

It's absolutely not good feeling....but there is time that it's better to smile.  This is what we call "Niga-warai" or "Kusho" in Japanese, meaning a bitter smile.

 

This bitter smile is very common for Japanese who happens to meet a situation that there is no help for it.  Again, it's not a good experience.  But instead of blaming somebody or complaining about bad experience, we'd better accept it and we need to go forward the life.  How?   This is what I mean "Bitter Smile." By having a bitter smile, we can accept a bad situation.

 

Yesterday, as soon as I arrived at Kaua'i Care Center for performing a Buddhist service and entertainment, I noticed another program was already going on.  Then I was notified they had a double booking!!!

 

"Oh no! Last Wednesday of the month should be my turn!" But, of course, they apologized and soon I realized...ok, this is Hawaii.  Yes, they forget, I forget, too, and everybody forgets if there is no reminder! 

 

I recalled...(I cannot tell you when and who)....but one time a principle of the school here completely forgot my appointment that college students from Japan was coming to perform entertainments at school.    Even a principle forgets and Sensei (which is me!) also forgets, who can blame people for forgetting an appointment!!!

 

When I was about to leave, I just made a big bitter smile!

 

I wonder would you like to see it???  If yes, please cursor down!  If no.....Have a good day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my bitter smile!!! 

 

"What?  Am I always showing this bitter smile to my wife?"   (Bitter Smile!)

 

"NO Way!....only once in a while......I think."

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Tue

23

Feb

2016

A Bad Start can be a Good Start - Beauty of White

As compared to my son, I now think I was tremendously lucky since both my elementary school and middle school in Japan were so close to my home in Japan.  Both of them are located within 5 minutes-walk. 

 

This meant I didn't need to wake up early when I was small.  At the last minutes just before I needed to go, I used to wake up (actually my mother tried to wake me up several times and finally wake up)  and left for school.   In other words, I didn't need to spend extra time just for commuting to school.  I was able to spend more time for something else, such as studying, practicing baseball, learning piano and of course for the Buddhist services.

 

But the middle school which my son is attending, is far from Koloa.  Every morning, he needs to wake up early and leave house here at 6:20 a.m. in order to catch a school bus.  Then school starts at nearly 8:00 a.m.   Also on the way back home, it takes also time to come back.  

 

Well, this is not only my son but also many other students in Hawaii are experiencing bad school commute.  As compared to them, I was sooooo lucky.  However, whether good or bad, lucky or unlucky, can be completely up to the person.  If students can realize time is so precious and the way to use time efficiently, this bad school commute can be very good.  I think this is so true if we can understand the history of technology that Convenience comes from the life of inconvenience!   In old days, needless to say, there were no bus, no car, and no airplane.  It was very natural for them to take time just for moving.  But yet, they had also time for fun!!!   At the same time, no car probably caused more walk which made them strong.

 

Anyway, this morning at 6:20 am, soon after he left for a bus, he came back to the house and asked me if I could take him to the bus stop because he told me bus might come earlier.  My answer was supposed to be NO!!!

 

But I just recalled he missed catching a bus yesterday while I was on Oahu and he caused uncle Jim for the trouble of transportation (Mahalo to uncle Jim and aunty Kim)!  Surely I didn't want one round trip to Puhi this morning.  I drove him to the bus stop.

 

Then when I came home, I realized he did a good job!!!  I even thank him for giving me this opportunity transportation  Because I noticed...........What?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beauty of white flower in the darkness!!!! It must be a night-blooming water lily!!!  Without taking him to a bus stop, I would never ever notice this white flower!!!!   Now I'm very happy and I think a bad start can be a good start.

 

I wonder if you can agree.....bad can be good.  Of course, good is good.  Bad is bad.  But depending on the person, there is time bad can be good.

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Mon

22

Feb

2016

Our Master Honen on KIKU TV

I've received this flyer above from Bishop Hara of Hawaii Council of Jodo Missions. 

 

So let me introduce this to you.

 

An animated movie of the life and teaching of Jodoshu founder, Honen Shonin (1133-1212), entitled "Our Master Honen" will be shown on KIKU TV on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 8 PM.   This is completely dubbed in English.

 

It focused on half Honen's life; from his birth till the founding of Jodoshu in 1175.  How did Honen, born as a son of Samurai, became a monk?  What made him realize Buddhism for everyone?  Is there any way for everyone to be saved?  The seeds of revolutionary Buddhism, so-called teaching of Nenbutsu, are well depicted in this animation movie. 

 

Once again, this will be broadcasted on Saturday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m.  If you can watch KIKU TV, please mark this day on your calendar and watch it with your family!

 

By the way, this movie was originally made by Toei Animation & released by Chionin Temple in 1981 in commemoration of 850th Anniversary of the birth of Master Honen.   It was really amazing this animation movie for English speakers was already made over 30 years ago! 

 

 

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Sun

21

Feb

2016

Selfish

I feel a great joy whenever I see a bud of water lily.  Especially because there are some new water lilies here, just imagining which color of the flower blooming is also pleasant.  From a few days ago, I noticed a new bud which I've never seen the flower was coming up to the surface.  I wished time can pass quickly so that I can see the blooming flower.

Today I just saw this bud which might be blooming.  Now I have to wish flower will not to open today because I'll be away all day long at Kapaa.  I want to see the opening flower while I'm staying here to watch it.

 

After thinking about future, I truly realized what a selfish man I was.  But at the same time, because I am a selfish man, I definitely need to practice Buddhism, especially teachings of Master Honen which are exactly for the people who are ignorant and selfish.

 

After looking at this bud, I just thought today I should talk about this selfish being and the teaching of Jodo shu.  I'll try livestreaming a Sunday Service at Kapaa!

 

 

 

0 Comments

Sat

20

Feb

2016

February

It was cold again this morning!  I don't know if this has relation but as compared to other months, much more members passed away in February.  Thus I have more memorial services in February.  Besides February is the month when airfare from Japan is cheaper and Japanese priests are not so busy, as a result, I have more guests one after another. 

 

The day before yesterday was one of a few days I was able to stay at the office, but I needed to spend lots of time to write an article about last year Symposium for the Pure Land Magazine.  I don't feel any difficulties about writing.  However because this was done almost one year ago and I wanted to write it better, it took me time to complete it!

 

Yesterday, I was satisfied with finishing a good article but while I had hard time to find what to conclude, I didn't like this job just because I knew there were many other things I should do!  There was a big frustration while writing.

 

One of them was cleaning the office!  Oh my goodness....without knowing it, my office has become worst jungle of paper ever! 

 

The good thing was I found many unopened envelops of offertory for the many memorial services.  Then bad thing was I also found some unopened envelops of bills I had to pay.  To my shocking, I found my credit card payment was overdue!  And this is just a beginning!

 

I know I want to finish cleaning but today I welcome two priests and tomorrow I have four services at Kapaa.  Then the day after tomorrow, I'll be attending to the workshop in Honolulu and next month, I'll be attending to the conference in Tokyo!

 

I'm really sorry I'm causing inconvenience to our members and friends but I do thank you very much for listening for my excuse at this time!

 

 

0 Comments

Wed

17

Feb

2016

Housework=Pāramitā?

The package design was made by Y. Ishikawa.
The package design was made by Y. Ishikawa.

It has been exactly one whole year since my wife got a full-time job at the Cookie company, thanks to aunty Mabel.  Originally, she wanted Me to work at the restaurant to make Sushi or bake cake.  If possible, I wanted to help her company whatever I could.  However I happened to have an additional job at Kapaa Jodo.  So I asked aunty to consider hiring my wife who is so talented about many things, especially her former job in Japan was a graphic designer.

 

This is how she got a job here and I became a househusband who needed to go about the household chores plus a chauffer for my children to school and hula lessons.  Then I became busier and got much less free time. 

 

It was true....from time to time, I wished my wife to quit her job....so that I could get more free time!   However, I deeply deeply realized all the housework can be excellent traditional Buddhist practices of perfections such as dana (offering), sila (rules), Kṣānti(patience), Vīrya (making efforts), Dhyāna (contemplation) and prajñā (wisdom.)

 

For example, to be kind to my wife by making lunch and dinner, can be dana or offering not only food but also loving-kindness.  Then once in a while when she came home really late and I missed going to take a photo of whale....this can be a good time to practice of patience.  I calm myself to do Nenbutsu....and think....O.K....this is a practice of perseverance.  Then sometimes...wife said she was so tired after working all day long and she didn't want dishwashing....then this gives me a chance of meditation to clean the dishes.  While dishwashing, I can practice concentration on just washing the dishes so that I can easily forget myself by the time finished.  Finally as I am more dedicated to the housework, I need to create better and efficient way to do jobs in shorter time.   I regard this is a practice of prajñā (wisdom)!  And in order to reach the prajna, I naturally need to make some family-rules and efforts which are sila (precepts) and virya (efforts.)  By thinking in this way, I get to do these jobs positively and happily. 

 

Reflecting this past one year, time went soooo quickly and I thought I did a good job!  But now I think my wife did a good job, too, to give me much more miscellaneous jobs which I want to call Paramita!

Also for our New Year's Party, aunty Mabel let my wife choose door prize donations and she picked up so many premium cookies! 

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Mon

15

Feb

2016

Harmony of the Universe!?

What a delicious Hoshi Ume (dried plum)!

This was a gift from Aunty Mabel and when I ate it, I felt two completely different tastes became one in my mouth.  This was just like Cy's pickled plum yesterday!  Sweet + Sour became so well-balanced which I want to call "Harmony of the Universe!"

 

I thought this was sold in Japan that's why I kept this empty bag.   But now I can throw it away because I just realized this was a Marukai Brand, which is also available on line!

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Sun

14

Feb

2016

My Belated Mahalo

A few years ago, Kahului Jodo Mission kindly invited me as a guest speaker to their Bon Service & Dance.  My dharma talk was well received and right after the service, a young man came to tell me, he has watched my youtube videos.  He also told me his mother was from Lihue.  Later he kindly subscribed my channel and I sent a Bon Dance Cd to him.

 

Last year, he emailed me that he would like to give me a gift since his brother was coming to Bon Dance at Kauai Soto Zen Temple. Then I met his brother and I received a pack of sweet-sour pickled plum(peach?) from him there.

 

I ate it after several days.  Wow....this was so Oishii (delicious)....probably the best pickle I've ever eaten.  I was so grateful to receive this delicious plum from my younger friend from Maui.

 

Then, the reason why I'm writing this now was because I realized I didn't send a email of thank you to him yet.   I just found it in my draft box!  I know it's so belated....but thank you very much for the delicious pickle, Cy on Maui!!!  

 

I'm ashamed of myself....this sometimes happen, but I'd like to express my appreciation.... no matter how late it will be.

 

0 Comments

Sat

13

Feb

2016

Another Temple at Koloa?

Recently while I was driving in Koloa toward the bypass road, I had a feeling that I passed by familiar building.  I wondered if it was our temple???"  But soon I realized this couldn't be happened!!! Our temple should not be located here!  There was no Bis Save and no larger Hondo near by.  So what was this building?  Another temple?   Suddenly I became so curious about it and I went back to the place where I could take a photo.

My intuition was right!  Wow....the building looks like our temple.  Color and material of the roof seem to be same.  And there is a big ridge decoration, too, on the top of the roof!  Very impressive!

This photo from google street view seemed to be taken in 2011!  It may mean this was made right after our renovation in 2010.  And I didn't know our neighbor made this building for several years!  I thought Koloa was such a small town but this made me realize there are actually so many things that I don't know about town, especially our neighbors!

This was like saying, "It's hard to see what is under your nose." 

 

Anyway, I feel this is an honor....there is a neighbor who made the building look like our temple building.  

0 Comments

Thu

11

Feb

2016

Nengajo

If you have a friend in Japan, maybe, you've seen a Japanese New Year's Card called "Nengajo."  Nengajo, which literally means "a letter of celebrating year," is a postcard delivered on and after January 1st.  It's a custom to send words of appreciation and greetings to friends and relatives on the New Year's Day. 

 

There are actually various kinds of Nengajo but the most popular type of card is called "Otoshidama tsuki Nengajo " meaning "a New Year's Postcard with Otoshidama."   Every year Japan Post Holdings issues several billions of this type of card.  Last year, 3 billions of cards were actually delivered in Japan while Japanese population was 123 million.  The postal stamp which is usually an animal of the year, is already printed in the card.  Each costs 52 yen (about 40 cents.)

 

As Otoshidama means "a new year's monetary gift", this type of Nengajo has lottery numbers at the bottom of the card.  I think  this is a unique feature of Nengajo as compared to the postcards in other countries.   Yes, this is a card with lucky number!!! By sending cards to friends and relatives, you are sending not only greetings but also possible lottery prize to them. 

 

According to the Japan Post website, the first prize of this year,  is cash of 100,000 yen (about $1000)  or you can choose an electric item such as a TV or a travel coupon worth about 100,000 yen ($1000).  The probability of winning 1st prize is one in one million.  I know it's difficult but the more you receive cards, the more chance of winning, you'll get.

 

The  2nd prize is called "Furusato Kozutsumi" or hometown package in English.  You can choose a package of the special product of various prefecture.  For example, there are Ume (plum) from Wakayama prefecture, O-cha (tea) from Shizuoka prefrecture......maybe you should better see this site to know the exact items.   The probability to win 2nd prize, is exactly, one in 10,000 cards. 

 

Then 3rd prize is a set of special postal stamps which are usually design of the animal of the year.  This will happen two winnings in 100 cards.  So if you receive over 100 cards, then you have higher possibility to